A caller who phoned into a national radio station has said Boris Johnson’s latest Brexit bill makes her “embarrassed to be British”.
Phoning in before a recent Commons vote, Mary, an British expat living in Brittany said she now hides her accent when speaking French.
On Monday evening, the prime minister’s internal market bill, which seeks to give ministers unilateral power to interpret the Withdrawal Agreement, passed in the Commons by a majority of 77. There were 30 MPs who abstained and two who actively voted against it.
Taking aim the legislation, which the government admitted would break international law, Mary told LBC’s James O’Brien: “For someone who’s lived in Europe for a very long time, I’ve always been proud of the UK, I’ve not abandoned the UK. If anybody dared to criticise the UK I’d stand up for it and say what about the fabulous music and the culture?”
“Recently I’m ashamed, I’m actually embarrassed. I’m embarrassed about how the government is behaving, I’m embarrassed about this situation. I’d rather hide my British accent when I speak French.”
Mary then asked whether a government which reneged on an international treaty it signed would “therefore renege on citizens’ rights?”
O’Brien replied: “If the government reneges on a treaty commitment of such high profile…if they can turn around and say we’ve got to tear that up, what won’t they be prepared to tear up in the future?”
Critics of the bill say it overrides key aspects of the Northern Ireland Protocol and could jeopardise the Good Friday Agreement.
Writing in the Sunday Times, former prime ministers Tony Blair and John Major wrote: “We both opposed Brexit. We both accept it is now happening. But this way of negotiating, with reason cast aside in pursuit of ideology and cavalier bombast posing as serious diplomacy, is irresponsible, wrong in principle and dangerous in practice.
“It raises questions that go far beyond the impact on Ireland, the peace process and negotiations for a trade deal — crucial though they are. It questions the very integrity of our nation.”