Blair and Major blast Johnson’s Brexit deal violation plan

Former British Prime Ministers John Major, left, and Tony Blair | Pool photo by Jeff J. Mitchell/Getty Images

Blair and Major blast Johnson’s Brexit deal violation plan

UK’s global credibility at stake, say former prime ministers.


9/13/20, 1:12 PM CET

Updated 9/13/20, 1:14 PM CET

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is under fire from two of his predecessors over his plan to renege on parts of his Brexit Withdrawal Agreement with the EU.

Tony Blair, the former Labour leader, and John Major, of Johnson’s own Conservatives, published a joint op-ed attacking the decision in the Sunday Times.

Johnson’s new Brexit plans break with parts of the deal related to Northern Ireland, violating international law in a “very specific and limited way,” according to a government minister.

The government has justified its Internal Markets Bill as essential to ensuring unfettered trade between the four nations of the U.K. But the plans have sparked outrage from the European Union.

Blair and Major described the government proposal as “shocking.”

“How can it be compatible with the codes of conduct that bind ministers, law officers and civil servants deliberately to break treaty obligations? As we negotiate new trade treaties, how do we salvage credibility as “global Britain” if we so blatantly disregard our commitments the moment we sign them?”

Johnson’s immediate predecessor  — fellow Conservative Theresa May — has also condemned the proposal, saying that it undermines trust in the U.K.

Blair and Major said the proposal risks undermining progress made in securing peace in the Northern Ireland.

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