A useful thread by Jonathan Powell who writes that Tory ministers are all over the place on the reasons the government wants to break international law on Brexit.

First published in September 2020.


Every time a Tory minister appears on the media they have a different explanation of why they are breaking international law on the NI protocol. So far I have counted 5. This thread lists them and suggests what the real reason may be.


Gov: ‘These are specific and limited changes required by the ambiguity of the original agreement’.

No they are not - they potentially undermine the whole point of the backstop.


Gov: ‘They are to save the Good Friday Agreement’.

On the contrary they undermine the GFA by risking the need to impose a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic to protect the Single Market.


Johnson: ‘didn’t know it created a customs border between NI and the rest of the UK at the time’.

Oh yes he did - not least because many experts including me were pointing this out.


Bernard Jenkin: ‘This is a one off treaty because we are leaving an Empire’ so it is ok to breach it.

What planet is he living on?


Gov: ‘It was all a bit of a rush’.

Yes it was and that is why a majority in Parliament was urging him to slow down. He got caught on TV at the time telling NI businessmen that they wouldn’t need to fill in forms - either he was lying or had not read it.


The real reason is political. Johnson/Cummings are trying to imitate Trump by changing the subject from the mess they have made of Coronavirus to a fight on Brexit, the only subject they can manage. And in the process they have put NI peace at risk and cratered our reputation

[This piece was first published as a Twitter thread and turned into the above article on 11 September 2020 with the purpose of reaching a larger audience. It has been minorly edited and corrected. | The author of the tweets writes in a personal capacity.]

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