David Cameron has joined the ranks of former prime ministers condemning Boris Johnsons’ plans to violate international law by rescinding parts of the EU withdrawal agreement he himself signed.
The former Tory PM who resigned after losing the Brexit referendum said breaking an international treaty was “the very last thing to consider”.
He joins John Major, Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and Theresa May who have criticized plans that face a revolt by Conservative MPs in the Commons.
Several MPs and party greats, including former chief legal officer and attorney general Geoffrey Cox, are speaking ahead of a confrontational vote on Tuesday next week.
Cameron rarely breaks coverage after chairing the 2016 EU referendum that led to Brexit in the first place.
But he said on Monday: “I have my doubts about what’s on offer. This should be an absolute last resort.
He added: “Passing an act of Parliament and then breaking an international treaty obligation is the very last thing to consider.”
The UK Home Market Bill will give UK ministers the power to decide which goods need the EU tariffs or the customs forms they make between Britain and Northern Ireland without consult the EU.
The move as part of a disruptive Brexit trade talks strategy has infuriated the EU and sparked outrage on the Conservative benches in the Commons where Johnson has a majority of 80.
There is also anger in Edinburgh and Cardiff over aspects of the bill that allow the UK government to control state aid and fund projects in areas previously under the control of decentralized parliaments.
The SNP has described the proposals as an attack on devolution and will attempt to sabotage the bill in a Commons vote.
The bill will receive its second reading and will be voted on Monday around 10 p.m., when the government will be able to gauge the extent of a probable rebellion.
But the real drama is due to take place next week when Tory MP Sir Bob Neill battles an amendment to give Parliament, not ministers, the final say on how to act.
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