Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael, has today challenged the Prime Minister in Parliament over the government’s plans to break international law by unilaterally nullifying parts of the Withdrawal Agreement that it ratified earlier this year. Highlighting the possibility of an illegal independence referendum on the same grounds, Mr Carmichael asked Boris Johnson to explain how the government could credibly enforce the law at home while breaking the law internationally.
Speaking in the House, Mr Carmichael said:
“Some Scottish Nationalists want to hold a Catalonia-style wildcat referendum on Scottish independence. I oppose this because it would be illegal. If the Prime Minister is happy for his government to break international law, on what basis would he oppose it?”
Responding, the Prime Minister said:
“My job is to uphold the integrity of the UK but also to protect the Northern Irish peace process and the Good Friday Agreement and to do that we need a legal safety net to protect our country against extreme interpretations of the Protocol which could lead to a border down the Irish Sea in a way that I believe would be prejudicial to the Northern Irish peace agreement and to peace in our country and that has to be the priority for our country.”
Reacting after the exchange, Mr Carmichael said:
“The Prime Minister was warned when he signed the Withdrawal Agreement that it would be a threat to the Good Friday Agreement. It is welcome that he has realised this at last but the answer to the problems of trashing one international agreement is never going to be the trashing of a second one.
“The Prime Minister has gone down a dangerous road which risks diminishing our country on the world stage. When one country starts to ignore the law then they cannot complain when others follow their example.
“My question was short and simple. It will not be lost on anyone that the PM had no answer to it.”