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The UK's government admits that its Brexit plans will break international law

The conservative government in the UK has admitted that it plans to break international law with its new plan for Brexit. On the 8th of September, Brandon Lewis, the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, admitted that the government's Brexit plans for the province of Northern Ireland would break international law "in a very specific and limited way."

The admission came in response to a question from a Conservative MP who expressed concern over Boris Johnson's plans to make "minor clarifications" to the Brexit Withdrawal Deal. In response to the question, it was admitted that these alterations to the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement would mean that international law would be broken. This information caused visible shock from the MPs in the Houses of Parliament. The announcement came shortly after the resignation of the head of the government's legal department.

So exactly how will international law be broken?

UK ministers will have the power to decide which goods are “at risk” of entering the E.U. They will also have the power of being able to waive export declarations on goods heading from Northern Ireland to Great Britain. This may seem harmless, but it is a power that can be abused for personal gain. It is also bad sign for what is to come, that the UK government is already trying to wriggle out of commitments it lawfully agreed to as part of the Brexit deal. In protest of this, the head of the UK government’s legal department, Jonathan Jones, quit his position on Tuesday the 8th of September.

Key terms:

  1. Admitted

  2. Northern Ireland

  3. Brexit

  4. Boris Johnson

  5. International Law

  6. Houses of Parliament

  7. Goods

  8. Waive

  9. Export Declarations

Key Questions

  1. Why did Jonathan Jones quit his position as head of the government’s legal department?

  2. Why is it worrying that the UK is planning to break international law?

  3. Is it ever justified to break the law?

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