Justice Secretary Robert Buckland has defended plans to potentially overturn the EU withdrawal agreement as an emergency Brexit “insurance policy”.
He told the BBC that he hoped the powers sought by ministers in the Internal Markets Bill would never be needed, as a solution could be found with the European Union.
He said that if Britain “rejects international law then I become unacceptable”.
But he clarified that he did not believe “we will get to that stage”.
Labor has indicated that they will not support the proposed legislation – which MPs will debate for the first time on Monday – until major changes are made.
Pressure is mounting on conservative lawmakers who are skeptical of opposing the legislation, as well as in the Commons, by former Prime Ministers Tony Blair and Sir John Major, calling it “shameful and shameful”.
The EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, said the EU could not be “clear” when the two sides agreed on the Brexit withdrawal agreement last year as to what the implications would be for Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.
And Irish Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney said it was “completely bogus” for Britain to claim that the European Union was now interpreting the withdrawal agreement in a way that could break the UK’s ties.
Boris Johnson says the European Union is threatening to impose customs duties in Irish Ireland, separating Northern Ireland from the rest of Britain.
If the Internal Markets Bill becomes law, it will give UK ministers the power to modify or “disappear” regulations relating to the movement of goods between Britain and Northern Ireland and subsidies for Northern Irish companies. These rules are to come into force from 1 January, until Britain and the European Union will be able to enter into a trade deal before then.
The proposed new legislation would change the terms of the so-called Northern Ireland Protocol, an important part of the legally binding withdrawal agreement prepared and agreed to by both parties before Britain’s exit from the EU on 31 January.
‘Break the mirror in emergency’
Appearing on the BBC’s Andrew Marr, Mr Buckland said the government would only invoke powers in the bill if other solutions could not be in place and if the EU acted in an “unreasonable” manner by insisting on excessive scrutiny of goods. Across the Irish Sea.
“I believe that with our determination to seek an agreement, we will find a place where we are not required to implement these provisions. It is all about the insurance plan, if you wish, a break.” -In-in-emergency provisions “.
He acknowledged that there was a “dichotomy” between Britain’s positions in domestic and international law, but insisted that he believed these would be resolved.
On whether he would leave if Britain broke international law, he replied: “If I see the rule of law being broken in a way that I find unacceptable, then of course I will go. We will Are not at that level. ”
He said: “I don’t believe we will get to that stage. I know in my mind what we have to do … We have to resolve any conflict and this is what we will do.”
But Mr Coveney said that if the Bill was legally passed and rejected, it was claimed that Britain was a threat to its legal integrity and the Northern Irish peace process.
Another rift has opened up between the UK and the European Union on the issue of food exports to the continent since 1 January – when the current post-Brexit transition period ends.
Mr Barnier said it is not true that the EU was threatened with effectively blocking products of animal origin from crossing the channel by withholding “third country” licenses given to nations outside the blot.
However, his British counterpart David Frost said that Britain was not guaranteed that trade would still continue.
In a series of messages on TwitterThe prime Brexit negotiator of the PM suggested, under proposed EU arrangements, British firms risked not being able to export food from the mainland to Northern Ireland.
Although the government has a comfortable majority of 80 in the House of Commons, it is facing rebellion from the Tory backbenchers on the Internal Market Bill, and its passage through the Lords is far from guaranteed.
Labour’s Brexit spokesman Rachel Reeves told the BBC that the party could not support the bill because it “stands” because it would be “knowingly and willfully breaking international law”.
She told the Andrew Marr program that it would be “counter-productive” to the UK trying to achieve a free trade agreement with the European Union and others around the world.
And the Liberal Democrats said that following the rule of law has become “optional” for ministers.
“Robert Buckland is sworn in to respect the rule of law. It’s enough to see him shrugging his shoulders in such a way as the Conservative government prepares to break it,” said Hobhouse, his justice spokesman .