British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is under fire from two of his predecessors over his plan to renege on parts of his Brexit Withdrawal Agreement with the EU.
Tony Blair, the former Labour leader, and John Major, of Johnson’s own Conservatives, published a joint op-ed attacking the decision in the Sunday Times.
Johnson’s new Brexit plans break with parts of the deal related to Northern Ireland, violating international law in a “very specific and limited way,” according to a government minister.
Blair and Major described the government proposal as “shocking.”
“How can it be compatible with the codes of conduct that bind ministers, law officers and civil servants deliberately to break treaty obligations? As we negotiate new trade treaties, how do we salvage credibility as “global Britain” if we so blatantly disregard our commitments the moment we sign them?”
Johnson’s immediate predecessor — fellow Conservative Theresa May — has also condemned the proposal, saying that it undermines trust in the U.K.
Blair and Major said the proposal risks undermining progress made in securing peace in the Northern Ireland. “The government’s action does not protect the Good Friday agreement — it imperils it,” they said.
“This latest ruse has spectacularly misfired and must stop now — before any further damage is done. And, if the government itself will not respect the rule of law, then the High Court of Parliament should compel it to do so,” added the two former prime ministers, who campaigned for the U.K. to remain in the EU in the 2016 Brexit referendum.