Senior Tory MP calls on justice minister to ‘fall on his sword’ and resign over controversial Brexit bill changes

PUBLISHED: 11:41 10 September 2020 | UPDATED: 13:35 10 September 2020

A senior Tory  is calling on justice secretary Robert Buckland to resign over changes to the internal market bill that override key sections of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement. Picture: Victoria Jones/PA Wire/PA Images

A senior Tory is calling on justice secretary Robert Buckland to resign over changes to the internal market bill that override key sections of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement. Picture: Victoria Jones/PA Wire/PA Images

PA Wire/PA Images

A senior Tory MP has called on justice secretary Robert Buckland to step down over controversial changes to the internal market bill.

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Tory MP Sir Roger Gale said Buckland should “fall on his sword” for backing changes to the internal market bill that would override key section of the Withdrawal Agreement (WA).

Gale told LBC News: “One of the government’s senior legal advisers (Jonathan Jones) has already done and resigned from his post because the terms of the bill are unacceptable internationally.

“We are going to embark shortly upon a series of trade negotiations with all sorts of countries around the world. We have to do that post-Brexit.

“How are we going to be regarded as a nation if it is believed that whatever we sign isn’t worth the paper it’s written on? That is the position that this Prime Minister is putting us in and I will have no part in it.”

Former Tory prime minister Theresa May, who helped negotiate a large portion of the WA, echoed Gale’s concerns in the Commons on Tuesday.

She said: “The United Kingdom government signed the Withdrawal Agreement with the Northern Ireland Protocol. This parliament voted that agreement into UK legislation.

“The government is now changing the operation of that agreement. Given that, how will the government reassure future international partners that the UK can be trusted to abide by the legal obligations it signs?”

Northern Ireland secretary Brandon Lewis admitted the new amendments would “break international law in a very specific and limited way”.

Cabinet minister Michael Gove is meeting with senior EU official Maros Sefcovic to discuss the situation while UK and EU officials brace for a “extraordinary meeting” of the Joint Committee in London.

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said she was “very concerned” following the bill’s tabling in the UK parliament.

She said such actions would “undermine trust” and called on the prime minister Boris Johnson to honour his past commitments.

The European Commission’s chief spokesperson Eric Mamer Tweeted late on Wednesday: “Following today’s announcement by the UK, Maros Sefcovic will travel to London tomorrow to meet Michael Gove for an extraordinary meeting of the Joint Committee.

“The EU seeks clarifications from the UK on the full and timely implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement.”

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