“Monty Python” government must stop contradicting itself and publish legal advice

Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael, has today called on the Prime Minister to publish legal advice taken by the government on the legality of its Internal Market Bill, making light of a series of contradictory remarks by government officials in recent days. Multiple officials have claimed that the Bill breaks or does not break international law in recent days, with a range of justifications and competing narratives offered.


Today the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland suggested that the EU was negotiating with the UK in good faith, while the Prime Minister has suggested yesterday that the EU is instead making “offensive threats”.


Speaking in the House during Prime Minister’s Questions, Mr Carmichael said:

“Last week the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland said that the UK Internal Market Bill would breach our obligations under international law. Yesterday the Advocate General for Scotland said that the Secretary of State was wrong to say that. Today the Secretary of State says that the Advocate General was wrong to say that he was wrong.


“It’s of course possible that they are both right in saying that the other is wrong, but surely an important matter such as this deserves clarity, so will the Prime Minister undertake to publish legal advice from all his law officers so the House can make an informed decision on the question of legality?”


Responding, the Prime Minister said:

“As he knows we don’t publish Attorney General advice. Of course this Bill is intended to uphold the economic, political and territorial integrity of the United Kingdom and I believe it should be supported by all Members of this House.”


Reacting after the exchange, Mr Carmichael said:

“This is government by Monty Python sketch, just without the talented scriptwriters. In fact it looks like they are making it up as they go along. The problem is that these jokers are not funny and risk doing serious damage to Britain’s reputation on the world stage.


“The only way to end this farce is for the government to publish its legal advice on its planned breach of international law. Their continued refusal to do so speaks volumes for their bad faith.”

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