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Theresa May defies Boris Johnson over Brexit legislation

Former prime minister Theresa May slammed successor Boris Johnson today over Brexit, refusing to support new legislation being drawn up that would break international law.

Mrs May, now a backbench MP, took aim at her successor over his plan to undermine part of the Withdrawal Agreement agreed with Brussels last year.

In the Commons today she said she would not back the United Kingdom Internal Market Bill, which contains the provision, warning it would ‘lead to untold damage to the United Kingdom’s reputation’ and threaten the Union.

In a savage intervention in the House of Commons she said: ‘If the potential consequences of the Withdrawal Agreement were so bad, why did the Government sign it?’

Mrs May was ousted and replaced by Mr Johnson last summer after her repeated attempts to get a Withdrawal Agreement past MPs. Mr Johnson eventually achieved it in January before the UK left the EU. 

Mrs May, now a backbench MP, took aim at her successor over his plan to undermine part of the Withdrawal Agreement agreed with Brussels last year

Mrs May, now a backbench MP, took aim at her successor over his plan to undermine part of the Withdrawal Agreement agreed with Brussels last year

Mrs May, now a backbench MP, took aim at her successor over his plan to undermine part of the Withdrawal Agreement agreed with Brussels last year

In a savage intervention in the House of Commons she said: 'If the potential consequences of the Withdrawal Agreement were so bad, why did the Government (of Mr Johnson, pictured today in Downing Street)  sign it?'

In a savage intervention in the House of Commons she said: 'If the potential consequences of the Withdrawal Agreement were so bad, why did the Government (of Mr Johnson, pictured today in Downing Street)  sign it?'

In a savage intervention in the House of Commons she said: ‘If the potential consequences of the Withdrawal Agreement were so bad, why did the Government (of Mr Johnson, pictured today in Downing Street)  sign it?’

But clauses of the IMB would allow ministers to circumvent part of the agreement relating to Northern Ireland, prompting fury from British and foreign critics from as far away as the United States.

Mrs May, the Maidenhead MP, told the Commons today: ‘I consider that by introducing clauses 41 to 45 the Government is acting recklessly and irresponsibly with no thought for the long-term impact on the standing of the United Kingdom in the world.

‘This will lead to untold damage to the United Kingdom’s reputation, it puts the future of the United Kingdom at risk and, as a result, with regret, I have to tell the minister I cannot support this Bill.’

She added: ‘I believe that the Government’s willingness unilaterally to abandon an international agreement or parts of an international agreement it has signed, its willingness to renege on an agreement it has signed will lead to some questioning, as has already been made clear in an intervention, some questioning the willingness of the Government to fully uphold the measures in the Belfast Good Friday Agreement.

‘That in turn will lead to some communities having less willingness to trust the UK Government and that could have a consequence on the willingness of people in the Northern Ireland to remain part of the UK.

‘So, far from acting to reinforce the integrity of the UK, in pursuit of trying to appear to be tough to the EU, I think the Government is putting the integrity of the UK at risk.’

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