Tag Archives: agreement

Bang goes the Good Friday Agreement as paramilitary groups accuse Johnson of betraying peace

Northern Ireland: it seems Boris Johnson’s stupidity may end not only his post-Brexit free trade deal with the EU but also terminate 23 years of peace.

Paramilitary groups in Northern Ireland have withdrawn support for the Good Friday Agreement due to Brexit – and they aren’t nationalists but unionists.

The Loyalist Communities Council, a group representing the views of the UVF, UDA and Red Hand Commando, are protesting at Boris Johnson’s Irish Sea trade border between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.

The group has written to Johnson and Ireland’s taoiseach, Micheál Martin, warning of “permanent destruction” of the 1998 peace agreement without changes to post-Brexit arrangements for Northern Ireland.

The letter said unionist opposition to the Northern Ireland protocol – the part of the Brexit deal that keeps Northern Ireland a part of the EU’s single market for goods – should remain “peaceful and democratic”.

But this is a decision to withdraw support for a peace deal that underpins power-sharing in Northern Ireland. If a solution is not found quickly, peace in the province could be lost – again.

And it would be Boris Johnson’s fault.

In fact, the Brexit deal seems to be unravelling fast for Johnson. The European Union has refused to ratify it for a second time after Brussels accused the UK of violating it.

The decision came after Johnson’s ministers said they would unilaterally change parts of the agreement to give businesses in Northern Ireland time to adapt to new trade rules.

Johnson is unsafe wherever he goes now.

If he decides to change the Brexit deal again, to preserve the Good Friday Agreement, his dream of free trade with the EU (which turned out to be a nightmare in any case) will be over forever.

But if he doesn’t, he risks re-igniting the Troubles – as violence by nationalists and unionists in Northern Ireland between 1969 and 1998 was known.

Loyalist paramilitary groups endorsed the Good Friday agreement and say they have no desire to reignite the Troubles.

But the LCC said the Northern Ireland protocol had breached safeguards in the Good Friday agreement to protect the status of the province and the rest of the UK.

So Johnson has put himself in the worst of all possible worlds. And he only has himself to blame.

Source: Brexit: loyalist paramilitary groups renounce Good Friday agreement | Northern Ireland | The Guardian

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Johnson told to drop parts of plan to break international law – after Lords defeat

It seems Boris Johnson is living up to his new nickname as a #ShapeShiftingCreep once again.

He has just suffered a major defeat in his plan to break international law – contradicting his own EU Withdrawal Agreement, signed in January – after the House of Lords carved huge chunks out of his Internal Markets Bill before sending it back to him:

According to the Huffington Post:

Peers voted by 433 to 165 to strip out clauses in the Internal Market Bill which would allow the UK to renege on its obligations in the withdrawal agreement signed with the EU.

The defeat, one of the largest of any government in the Lords since hereditary peers were slimmed down in the 1990s, means that Johnson will have to weigh up whether to reinsert the clause in the House of Commons next month.

In another overwhelming show of strength, the Lords also voted by 407 to 148 to remove any breach of the northern Ireland protocol in the EU withdrawal treaty.

Senior Tories went on to tell Johnson his best course of action is to “quietly drop” those parts of the Bill that the Lords have excised.

The Evening Standard said Tories including Theresa May’s ex-chief of staff Gavin Barwell, former chancellor Ken Clarke and former Conservative Party leaders William Hague and Michael Howard all voted against Johnson’s government:

Lord Barwell told the Standard: “I don’t see any positives that come from those clauses.

He said the clauses were affecting the UK’s ability to get a trade deal with the EU and “rule out” any possible trade deal with the US while “damaging relations” with the new Joe Biden administration [in the United States].

After the vote, Johnson’s government insisted it would not back down and would re-table the clauses when the bill returns to the Commons in December.

Ah… but then there was the issue of Joe Biden. The new US president, who claims Irish ancestry, has said he will take an extremely dim view of any UK legislation that harms the Good Friday Agreement that brought peace to Northern Ireland.

And it seems certain that he would have made that clear when Johnson telephoned to congratulate him on his win in the presidential election:

Johnson now faces a hard choice: reinstate the controversial – illegal – clauses and face the wrath of Biden, or quietly let them drop and face ridicule here in the UK.

He is a weak prime minister – who allows public perception to sway his decisions. I think we all know how this will end.

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EU to begin court action after Johnson misses deadline to explain international law breach

Self-satisfied: Boris Johnson sat speechless but smirking when Ed Miliband ripped apart his justifications for breaking his own treaty. Johnson doesn’t care about the law. He doesn’t care about what breaking it will cost because he won’t pay. You will.

The fact that he couldn’t even be bothered to respond to a ‘letter before action’ from the European Union demonstrates Boris Johnson’s contempt for the law – and the reason he should not be a member of Parliament.

Johnson’s Internal Market Bill (which is still not yet a law) breaches his own EU Withdrawal Agreement, that he signed in January.

If made law, the Bill would overrule the withdrawal agreement Johnson signed, by banning border checks on goods moving from Northern Ireland to Great Britain which are set to commence under the agreement from 31 December.

Johnson had signed up to the union’s customs code to get a deal, but now says Britain should be exempt from parts of it.

The European Commission confirmed on Tuesday that the deadline to respond to the letter has now come and gone without a UK response, meaning the court action against the UK will move to the next phase.

Tory government ministers have already admitted in parliament that the bill will break international law, but say the policy is justified because the law would only be broken in a “limited and specific” way.

We’ll see how that argument plays out in court. Badly, This Writer would expect. After all, a burglar breaks the law only in a “limited and specific” way, by breaking into people’s houses and stealing their belongings. If he’s prosecuted for it, he’ll still end up in prison.

To UK readers: how does it feel to be living in a rogue, outlaw state?

Source: Brexit: Boris Johnson misses EU deadline to explain breach of international law | The Independent

How long until Gove’s ‘safety net’ that breaks international law becomes ‘the right thing to do’?

Michael Gove: This Site has better pictures but the Spitting Image dummy reflects his shifty personality so well that it is hard to find an excuse not to use it.

Michael Gove is living evidence that you can get further by talking nonsense constantly than by rational behaviour.

He has just said that talks on implementing the EU withdrawal agreement are at a “healthy stage”.

That’s odd, when the EU side is that the UK’s negotiating position is still “far apart from what the EU can accept”.

The issue is the Internal Markets Bill – or at least those parts of it that override the EU withdrawal agreement where it concerns customs borders in Northern Ireland.

The European Commission’s Maros Sefcovic… said there was a “window of opportunity” to come to an agreement on the Northern Ireland protocol, but added that was “rapidly closing”.

And that’s what Gove calls a “healthy stage”!

Mr Sefcovic says the EU wants the UK to remove the “contentious parts” of the bill by the end of September – that’s Wednesday.

He said the EU would “not be shy” in using “legal remedies” written into the withdrawal agreement to address any “violations”.

What do you reckon the chances are that the EU will have to use those remedies – and that when it happens, Gove and the other Tories will say the EU is to blame for the failure of the Withdrawal Agreement?

Source: Michael Gove: Brexit provisions to stay in Internal Market Bill – BBC News

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#InternalMarketBill: why did these #ToryLawBreakers vote for the #WithdrawalAgreement if it was so bad?


Hundreds of Conservative MPs voted for the EU Withdrawal Agreement to become UK law in January – on the grounds that it would bring the UK back together as “one invigorated nation”. Why have the same people now voted to betray the same agreement?

Back in December last year, as his then-EU Withdrawal Agreement Bill passed its second reading in the House of Commons, Boris Johnson said: “Now is the time to act together as one reinvigorated nation, one United Kingdom.

“Now is the moment to come together and write a new and exciting chapter in our national story, to forge a new partnership with our European friends, to stand tall in the world, to begin the healing for which the whole people of this country yearn.”

He ditched that idea with the Internal Market Bill, which has caused as much division within the countries of the UK as it has with the European Union.

The Bill – if passed into law – will break the terms of the EU Withdrawal Agreement. That’s breaking not just national, but international law.

Johnson has said that it is necessary because the EU has reneged on the spirit of the withdrawal agreement, but this is a lie. In fact, like the spoilt little boy he is, he has decided he doesn’t like the terms of his own treaty so he wants to change it unilaterally, to suit himself.

On January 9 this year, 329 of his Conservative colleagues voted to approve the Withdrawal Agreement that Johnson hates so much now.

And on Monday, 339 of his Conservative colleagues voted to rip it up.

How can they justify this behaviour?

Either the Withdrawal Agreement isn’t right for the UK, in which case they should not have supported it in January, or it is – and they should not be breaking international law to wreck it now.

This Writer thinks every single one of the Tories who voted to contradict themselves needs to be asked just what the hell they think they’re playing at.

They are:

Are none of these people able to think for themselves?

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US Congress threatens to pull out of #freetrade deal if UK undermines #GoodFridayAgreement

Partners? Dominic Raab is in the United States, where he has been meeting Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. But the threat to the Good Friday Agreement posed by the Tory government’s Internal Market Bill means they may not see eye-to-eye.

This is awkward for Boris Johnson.

The US Congress – or at least members of it – is threatening to withdraw from any free trade deal with the UK if Boris Johnson’s Internal Market Bill undermines the Good Friday Agreement that brought peace to Northern Ireland.

This is a body blow to Johnson, who has claimed that the Bill is vitally important even though it very clearly breaks international law by shattering treaty agreements with the EU and in NI.

According to the BBC:

US Speaker Nancy Pelosi last week said there would be no UK-US trade deal if the Good Friday Agreement was undermined.

Ms Pelosi said if the UK broke international law and Brexit undermined the Good Friday Agreement – the Northern Ireland peace deal – there would be “absolutely no chance of a US-UK trade agreement passing the Congress”.

On Tuesday, four senior congressmen also issued a similar warning, saying a UK-US trade deal would be blocked if the UK failed to preserve the gains of the Good Friday Agreement.

In a letter to Mr Johnson, the four congressmen said the plans to give ministers powers to override part of the UK’s exit agreement – designed to avoid a hard Irish border – could have “disastrous consequences for the Good Friday Agreement and broader process to maintain peace on the island of Ireland”.

“We therefore urge you to abandon any and all legally questionable and unfair efforts to flout the Northern Ireland protocol of the withdrawal agreement and look to ensure that Brexit negotiations do not undermine the decades of progress to bring peace to Northern Ireland,” the letter added.

The letter was signed by Democratic congressmen Eliot Engel, Richard Neal, and Bill Keating, who all chair committees in the US House of Representatives, as well as Republican Congressman Peter King.

Downing Street has said the GFA will be upheld “in all circumstances” but the problem is that Johnson has a record of saying one thing and doing the opposite.

The row over the Internal Market Bill is because it contradicts the EU Withdrawal Agreement that Johnson himself signed in January after expelling 21 Tory MPs for failing to support him.

He simply cannot be trusted; he will say anything he likes to get whatever he wants at a particular time.

The warning from Congress underlines fears that no other nation will want to do a deal with a country that breaks international law.

The Americans would be better-advised to pull out of any deal now.

They might as well be negotiating with a spoilt child.

Source: Brexit: Dominic Raab seeks to reassure US politicians over Brexit bill – BBC News

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David Cameron regularly broke international law when he was prime minister. Why the change of heart now?

 

Legacy: this spoof heritage plaque gives a very good summation of David Cameron’s role in the UK’s ongoing Brexit disaster. Why should we take any interest in his views now?

He’s saying the right thing – but for the wrong reasons, and it is still a grotesque act of hypocrisy.

I refer, of course, to former prime minister David Cameron, who regularly, during his time as prime minister of the UK, broke international law but is expressing concern at Boris Johnson doing the same now.

You don’t remember? Allow me to remind you that the United Nations ruled that Cameron’s government broke the law to deliberately harm people with disabilities.

And he broke international law to attack Libya too.

The UN launched its probe into “grave and systematic violations” of the human rights of people with disabilities in 2014, when Cameron was prime minister.

It reported in 2016 – after he had quit (and we’ll get into those details momentarily). The findings showed that austerity policies introduced by Cameron’s government had systematically violated the rights of people with disabilities.

That is an offence in national and international law. The Cameron government had already signalled an intent to repeal the Human Rights Act and withdraw from the European Convention on Human Rights that the UK created, possibly in order to dodge this finding.

Boris Johnson’s renewed plan to cut human rights legislation out of the statute book signals that he intends to continue this illegal persecution of people with disabilities. Oh, did you think it was about nailing refugees who have been abusing the law to stay in the UK? Now you know better.

The attacks on Libya took place before Vox Political‘s time but I offer this as an example of commentary explaining why the Cameron government was breaking international law – and, indeed, human rights law – by participating.

So it seems out of character for Cameron to come back from the wilderness after four years and attack Boris Johnson for planning the same:

“Passing an Act of Parliament and then going on to break an international treaty obligation is the very, very last thing you should contemplate. It should be an absolute final resort, so I do have misgivings about what is being proposed,” he said.

It shouldn’t even be a last resort, as others have pointed out:

It is an entirely fabricated threat – indeed, it is one that Boris Johnson created himself. He came up with the EU Withdrawal Agreement that put a customs border in the middle of the Irish Sea. He campaigned for it in a general election and all his current Tory MPs did the same. And he signed it in January.

So it is nonsense for him to turn on us all now and say it is vital to change the terms of the agreement – and all his MPs should be opposing him, not just the few who have so far put their noses above the parapet.

And let’s not forget that Cameron is the man who is most directly responsible for the entire Brexit mess.

He launched the EU membership referendum – it was part of his election manifesto in 2015 – in an attempt to keep the Conservative Party from splitting.

He thought the vote would result in the UK remaining in the EU, silencing Eurosceptics in his party. He was wrong. The public narrowly voted to leave (admittedly on the basis of a stream of lies from Brexiteer campaigners including Boris Johnson). That has led us to where we are now.

And he didn’t even save his party from splitting. Some Tories quit voluntarily to join the ill-fated “Change UK – the Independent Group” or whatever it ended up calling itself. Others were forcibly thrown out by Boris Johnson when they refused to support his withdrawal agreement.

That’s the very agreement he is now saying is not acceptable, by the way.

So don’t let David Cameron’s words influence you.

He put the UK into this mess.

Source: Brexit: David Cameron joins all living former PMs in condemning Boris Johnson’s plan to break law | The Independent

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Johnson’s first Attorney General condemns his plan to betray EU withdrawal agreement

Geoffrey Cox: the former Attorney General is pointing the finger of accusation at Boris Johnson.

That’s scuppered the claims that the row over Boris Johnson’s plan to break international law is a last gasp of the so-called ‘Remainers’, then.

Geoffrey Cox – a devout Brexiter – was Attorney General when Boris Johnson signed his EU withdrawal agreement in January.

His announcement that he will not support Johnson’s Internal Markets Bill is proof that the controversy extends much further than the established battle lines.

The story broke in The Times, which is behind a paywall. However, the East Fife Times has this:

Boris Johnson’s former attorney general, Geoffrey Cox, has said it would be “unconscionable” to override the Brexit divorce deal.

The Tory MP said there is “no doubt” the “unpalatable” implications of the Withdrawal Agreement were known when the Prime Minister signed it, a time when Mr Cox was the chief law officer.

So he should know!

He stated:

And he threatened worse:

The Brexiteer warned he would not back the UK Internal Market Bill unless ministers dispel the impression they plan to “permanently and unilaterally” rewrite an international agreement.

[He] said tariffs and customs procedures on certain goods entering Northern Ireland from Britain were part of the deal.

“There can be no doubt that these were the known, unpalatable but inescapable, implications of the agreement,” he wrote in The Times.

He said if the powers in the Bill were used to “nullify those perfectly plain and foreseeable consequences” then it would amount to the “unilateral abrogation of the treaty obligations”

Cox said ministers could use “clear and lawful” options under the withdrawal agreement to remedy their concerns that food imports may be blocked from Britain to Northern Ireland – or, “in extremis”, take “temporary and proportionate measures” via independent arbitration.

“What ministers should not do, however provoked or frustrated they may feel about an impasse in negotiations, is to take or use powers permanently and unilaterally to rewrite portions of an international agreement into which this country freely entered just a few months ago,” he said.

It seems he also said this:

But the article also points out:

The QC… was attorney general during the unlawful suspension of Parliament.

That’s right; Boris Johnson prorogued Parliament illegally – and lied to the Queen in order to do it.

It seems Cox has had enough of such illegalities – and his words carry weight on the Conservative benches in the House of Commons.

They are also carrying weight on the social media:

Johnson and his people are desperately trying to play down the implications of their plan, but nobody is being fooled.

There may be more than verbal fireworks in the political news this week.

Source: Ex-attorney general strikes out at ‘unconscionable’ plan to override Brexit deal | Central Fife Times

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The Bar Council has laid into Suella Braverman so let’s all join in

Suella Braverman: She has made some knowledgeable enemies who may soon wipe that idiotic grin off her face.

The UK’s professional organisation representing barristers has accused Brextremist Attorney General Suella Braverman of sacrificing the UK’s reputation, sidelining legal advisers and bypassing the ministerial code.

At its annual general meeting, members of the Bar Council asked Braverman how she thought the UK’s Tory government could retain “a shred of credibility” in imploring other countries to follow international law after revealing its own willingness to breach agreements.

Here’s The Guardian with details of the festivities:

Five QCs confronted the attorney general during Saturday’s meeting, telling her that a crime which broke the law in a “specific and limited way” – the phrase used by the Northern Ireland secretary, Brandon Lewis, when he announced the move – was still a crime.

Asked if she believed ministers were breaking the ministerial code with the legislation, Braverman on Saturday dodged the question by stating that the code was not legally enforceable. Pressed, she suggested the cabinet secretary had ruled that the code would not be breached.

She was also confronted over why she had sought advice on the measures from three pro-Brexit legal figures, including one junior barrister who had worked with the Vote Leave campaign, rather than relying on senior government lawyers. She refused to disclose the advice she had received, but said that seeking external opinions was not unusual.

Braverman was asked what had changed since former justice minister Lord Faulks stated in 2015 that ministers would not breach international law. She said his statement reflected “government policy at the time”.

The proposals were needed to resolve tensions between domestic and international law created by the EU withdrawal agreement, she said, but the government remained “committed to the rule of law”.

Of course this is not true. A government cannot expect to be believed when it claims to be “committed to the rule of law”, after also committing itself to breaking the law.

We could never expect better from Braverman; she is used to breaking the rules.

Back in 2017, when the European Research Group (ERG) “party within the Tory party” was set up, she was its chair. It was funded illegally, with money from members’ expenses claims (expenses rules state that MPs cannot claim for research or work “done for, or on behalf of, a political party”, but by September 2017 the European Research Group had received more than £250,000 from MPs who claimed the public cash through their official expenses).

After she became a minister in the Department for Exiting the European Union, she remained a member of the ERG, even though the ministerial code prohibits ministers from becoming “associated with non-public organisations whose objectives may in any degree conflict with government policy” – as the ERG’s did at the time.

Neither she nor any of the other then-ministers who were also in the ERG were penalised, which may go a long way towards explaining why she believes she can tell the Bar Council she is above Parliamentary rules.

In March 2019 she was accused of using anti-Semitic language by stating that “As Conservatives, we are engaged in a battle against cultural Marxism”. This refers to a far-right-wing anti-Semitic conspiracy theory which identifies Western Marxism as the basis of an ongoing academic and intellectual movement to undermine and destroy Western culture and values. Challenged over this, she dismissed the idea, stating “We have culture evolving from the far left which has allowed the snuffing out of freedom of speech, freedom of thought…I’m very aware of that ongoing creep of cultural Marxism, which has come from Jeremy Corbyn.” So either she didn’t understand what she was talking about or she is a genuine anti-Semite who used opposition to Jeremy Corbyn to co-opt support from the Board of Deputies of British Jews, which withdrew its accusations against her.

And now we have her vain attempt to justify breaking international law, as described by This Site here.

The reason she thinks she – and the Johnson government – will get away with breaking international law is easy to understand in the context of her career.

She is an extremist Brexiteer who chaired a pressure group that was funded illegally – but still went on to occupy a role shaping government policy on Brexit; she voiced anti-Semitic sentiments – whether knowingly or not – but got away with it by claiming that she and her challengers had a mutual enemy in Jeremy Corbyn.

Based on this past behaviour, she thinks anyone opposing her on this can say what they want but it will not stop her from having her way.

Well, that has yet to be proved.

She may think she is sure of her ground but the Guardian article quotes a groundswell of opposition within the Parliamentary Conservative Party that could pull it out from under her feet.

And the Bar Council won’t be as easily swayed as the partisan Board of Deputies. Already there are murmurings about court action to forbid her from breaking international law in any way, not just the way she has described.

I look forward to seeing her get her comeuppance. It will be well-deserved.

Source: Top lawyers slam Suella Braverman for wrecking UK’s reputation | Politics | The Guardian

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Going, going, Gove: the Tory hypocrite who’ll break international law but demands we obey his ‘Rule of Six’

Spitting Image: Michael Gove’s likeness on the new version of the satirical comedy appears to have certain male genital organs for cheeks – which is entirely appropriate as he was talking a lot of b*ll*cks on TV today.

Michael Gove appeared on breakfast TV, to demand that we all – including our children, obey his government’s new prohibition of social gatherings of more than six people.

Why should we obey this, when he went on to admit that the government itself will break international law and turn the UK into a rogue state that no other country will trust?

I don’t have a clip of him calling on us to obey the ‘Rule of Six’ – which is a stupid demand that won’t stop the now-uncontrollable spread of Covid-19 because it does not target the causes of that spread.

If our friends and family had Covid-19, we would have already caught it, so going out with them makes no difference.

We are still legally allowed to go out on our own and sit in pubs and restaurants that are packed with strangers – any or all of whom may have the virus – but the new rule does not take this into account.

Here’s a link to an article in which Gove accepts responsibility for this act of criminal stupidity:

do have a clip of Gove voicing his support for unqualified Attorney General Suella Braverman, whose defence of Boris Johnson’s decision to break international law by reneging on the EU Withdrawal Agreement in his Internal Markets Bill was comprehensively destroyed on This Site, only days ago. Here he is:

Here’s the appropriate response:

Gove also said the EU was “threatening the integrity of the United Kingdom” by demanding that Boris Johnson honours the withdrawal agreement he signed in January.

Oh, really? That’s not what the Tories said at the time…

… and nobody was fooled by this blatant bid to gaslight the nation:

In fact This Writer can only fault the Twittersphere on one point: those who accused Gove of turning blond to acknowledge his Aryan/fascist/Nazi supporters appear to be colourblind.

His hair has gone grey. And I’m not surprised.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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