No 10 claims withdrawal treaty agreed on understanding it might be clarified later
Withdrawal agreement ‘not open for renegotiation’ says EU as it demands urgent talks with UK
The controversial bill published this afternoon gives powers to ministers to unilaterally decide how to apply the Northern Ireland protocol in relation to checks on goods going from Northern Ireland to Great Britain.
It also unpicks the “core” article 10 of the protocol in relation to state aid and states that it will “not be interpreted in accordance with case law of the European court” or “in accordance with any legislative act of the EU”.
This a complete contradiction of the section of the protocol which is underpinned by the “direct effect” of EU law, which would enable any individual or company to rely on EU law in a local court, and which was signed off by Boris Johnson in January.
Legal academics immediately pointed to articles 42, 43, and 45 of the internal market bill as a blunt re-writing of the protocol.
Catherine Barnard, professor of European law at Cambridge University, said:
This is a remarkable piece of legislation and it expressly contravenes out international legal obligations to a point that the legislation itself says this is the intention, as did Brandon Lewis yesterday.
Steve Peers, professor of law at the University of Essex said:
It is an obvious breach of international law. You could argue that it is not a breach because it hasn’t happened yet, but they are certainly giving themselves powers to breach.
European commission president says she is ‘very concerned’ about UK plan to breach withdrawal agreement
PMQs – Snap verdict
Text of UK internal market bill published, confirming it would break international law
Sturgeon says Scotland ‘at very dangerous point’, with new cases tripling over past three weeks
The first minister said during her regular briefing that three weeks ago the seven-day rolling average for Scotland was 52 new cases per day; it was now 155 cases per day. “It’s no exaggeration to say that Scotland is at a very dangerous point, as is the UK and other parts of the world,” she said.
Sturgeon said she could not rule out changing the number of people allowed to gather when she updates the lockdown rules on Thursday, potentially echoing the UK government’s announcement of new limits to six people.
There were 159 new cases recorded overnight, with 63 of those in the Greater Glasgow and Clyde health board area, where 1.1 million people are affected by tougher restrictions on gathering indoors. Sturgeon said there were new cases in every health board area on the Scottish mainland.
There were, however, no deaths recorded from Covid-19 by National Records of Scotland in any Scottish care homes last week, the first time since the start of the outbreak.