Matt Hancock says he is comfortable with No 10 law-breaking - but says public must not do so
- Credit: Archant
Matt Hancock has said he is 'comfortable' with the fact the UK is willing to break international law on the EU withdrawal agreement.
The health secretary made the comments hours after he announced new social distancing restrictions.
When asked by Times Radio if he was comfortable with a minister saying the UK was willing to break international law, he replied: 'I am.'
You may also want to watch:
He continued: 'The primary international obligation around this issue is to protect the peace process in Northern Ireland and I very much hope we conclude a deal before the end of the transition period.
- 1 Brexiteer Prue Leith quits Tory Party after government votes down motion to protect UK food standards
- 2 Public slams Brexit Party tweet which shames Tory MPs who voted against free school meals
- 3 Piers Morgan must expose the government's Brexit betrayal
- 4 Group in protest against Tory MPs who voted down free school meals targets offices with empty plates
- 5 Peers set to remove law-breaking sections of Boris Johnson's Brexit bill
- 6 Tory minister blames journalists for NHS Test and Trace failure as he defends Dido Harding
- 7 Michel Barnier postpones Brussels return as Brexit trade talks in London continue
- 8 Brexit shambles: A stress of our own making
- 9 Priti Patel set to hand private firms £28 million in government contracts to deport asylum seekers from UK
- 10 Boris Johnson and Priti Patel urged to end 'attacks' on lawyers in letter by 800 legal professionals
'I think that we will and it is in everybody's interest to do so as we did last time, but I also understand why ministers have chosen to prioritise at the absolute top of that the importance of protecting the peace process in Northern Ireland.'
Asked if individuals would be allowed to break the new laws on social distancing 'in a limited and specific way' – the way the government claims to be planning to do with the EU Withdrawal Agreement - he disagreed.
'No, this is incredibly important for keeping people safe, it is incredibly important for stopping the spread and therefore protecting education, protecting work.
'Obviously we are trying to protect livelihoods and protect education while stopping the spread of the virus.'
Hancock said that the series of changes made as the UK lifted lockdown restrictions had made the rules on social gatherings 'more complicated than they needed to be'.
'We are making this change to make (the rules) super simple,' he said.
Become a Supporter
The New European is proud of its journalism and we hope you are proud of it too. We believe our voice is important - both in representing the pro-EU perspective and also to help rebalance the right wing extremes of much of the UK national press. If you value what we are doing, you can help us by making a contribution to the cost of our journalism.