Boris Johnson has accused the European Union (EU) of “imposing customs borders & rdquor; within the United Kingdom and “divide our lands & rdquor ;, in defense of the Internal Market law with which intends to revoke the ‘brexit’ agreement that he himself signed. “We cannot find ourselves in a situation in which the borders of our country can be dictated by a foreign power, or an international organization & rdquor ;, he declared at the beginning of the debate in the House of Commons, deeply divided with this transgression of international law .
“No British prime minister, no government, no parliament, can accept that imposition & rdquor; stressed Johnson, sure that, despite of the opposition of a group of conservative deputies, with the vast absolute majority that he enjoys, he will pass without problems the first vote, scheduled for tonight.
The five-hour debate had been preceded by criticism from the five existing former prime ministers (three Conservatives and two Labor) and important figures from the Conservative Party, including the three Attorneys General who had been in office since 2010, and the former minister. Finance, Sajid Javid, who warned that he would not support the proposal. “It is not clear to me why the UK should break international law & rdquor ;.
Johnson argued that the EU is not negotiating “in good faith & rdquor; and aims to “use the protocol for Northern Ireland in a way that goes beyond common sense, to simply put pressure on the United Kingdom in the negotiation of free trade”. Brussels, Johnson suggested, threatens to veto the trade of British food and agricultural products to third countries, as well as animal products from Great Britain to Northern Ireland.
The British Government admits that the proposed violates international law, but according to Johnson it is “essential to the political and economic integrity of the United Kingdom & rdquor ;. As a guarantee, he promised that deputies will have the right to vote on any future decision to replace the treaty using the powers of the law.
The process, which will last several weeks, takes place while the negotiations, so far unsuccessful, to reach a ‘post-Brexit’ trade agreement between the United Kingdom and the EU continue. Many see in the London ploy a road to breakup no deal, something the prime minister continues to deny. “I have absolutely no desire to use those measures. They are insurance. If we come to terms with our European friends, which I think is still possible, they would never be invoked & rdquor ;, he declared.
Chaos and failure
There was an unsuccessful amendment of the Labor leader, Keir Starmer, absent as a precaution of possible contagion of coronavirus, trying to stop the law. Next Monday there will be another attempt, this time with an amendment from the leader of the conservative rebellion, Bob Neill.
In place of Starmer, former Labor leader Ed Miliband accused Johnson of “incompetence & rdquor; and if the original agreement and the Norwegian protocol have not been studied. “You can’t blame the judges, you can’t blame the officials, you can’t kick the cabinet minister back, there is only one person responsible and it’s him. It is their agreement, it is their chaos, their failure & rdquor ;.
For his part, the leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP) in the Commons, Ian Blackford, called on his colleagues to oppose Johnson’s illicit claims. “We have the collective power to stop the prime minister in this act of insanity. & Rdquor; Blackford recalled the risk of asking Queen Elizabeth II to sign a law that will violate international law.