The Tory civil war over Europe exploded back into life last night after ministers admitted that planned changes to the Brexit deal would break international law. Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis stunned MPs by confirming that proposals to ‘clarify’ Boris Johnson’s deal would breach the international treaty he signed. Downing Street had sought to play down controversy over the Internal Market Bill legislation, which will limit the role of the EU in Northern Ireland after Brexit. It said the ‘limited clarifications’ were needed to protect the peace process if talks on a trade deal break down. Asked directly whether the Government’s proposals were illegal, Mr Lewis said: ‘Yes, this does break international law in a very specific and limited way.’ Whitehall sources said there was ‘strong precedent’ for the UK occasionally breaching treaty obligations in exceptional circumstances, such as the refusal to give prisoners the vote. Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis stunned MPs by confirming that proposals to ‘clarify’ Boris Johnson’s deal would breach the international treaty he signed. Pictured: Johnson on Tuesday But Mr Lewis’s comments triggered a backlash led by former prime minister Theresa May and prompted warnings the move could undermine fragile hopes of a Brexit trade… Read full this story
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