Brandon Lewis insists Northern Ireland Protocol plan is legal – follow live


Labour MP says Johnson won’t ever ‘change’ and Tories will always defend the ‘indefensible’

Brandon Lewis has insisted new legislation designed to tear up part of the Northern Ireland protocol is legal and critics will “see that” when it is published tomorrow.

The Northern Ireland minister told Sky News’ Sophy Ridge on Sunday the move would not breach international law.

But he refused to guarantee ministers would publish the legal advice they have received on the issue.

The government is facing a rebellion over the plans from Tory MPs worried the legislation will breach the UK’s international obligations.

However Mr Lewis said: Mr Lewis said: “The legislation we’ll outline tomorrow is within the law. What we’re going to do is lawful and it is correct.”

The cabinet minister also accused the EU of being “disingenuous” about offering “flexibilities” on the Northern Ireland Protocol.

He told the BBC’s Sunday Morning programme: “What the EU are offering is some flexibility based on a fully-implemented protocol. That would be, actually, worse than the situation we’ve got today.”

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Government must be ‘prudent’ with taxypayers’ money, says Brandon Lewis

Brandon Lewis said he would support bringing forward the chancellor’s planned income tax cut “when we can afford to do it”.

The Northern Ireland secretary said the government must be “prudent” with taxpayers’ money.

Asked if he would want the 1p cut to come earlier than 2024, he told the BBC’s Sunday Morning: “I’d only want it to come forward when we can afford to do it.

“We cannot go and burden the next generation with more debt that they then have to pay the interest on. We’ve got to be fiscally sensible. That’s the tough decisions for government.

We’ve never shied away from that and I think it’s right that we get that balance. It’s a careful balance and I know it’s one the chancellor and the prime minister are determined to get right.”

Chiara Giordano12 June 2022 11:10

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Boris Johnson drama risks tipping UK into recession, CBI suggests

Business leaders have warned Boris Johnson the crisis engulfing his government risks undermining business confidence and potentially tipping the UK into recession.

Tony Danker, the director general of the CBI, said he thought the UK could still avoid entering recession in the coming months.

But he warned: “There’s a very simple chain of events, which is when business confidence is high businesses invest and grow, recession is avoided.”

Our Whitehall Editor Kate Devlin has the full story:

Chiara Giordano12 June 2022 10:55

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Boris Johnson ‘fully engaged’ in trying to help British soldiers handed death penalty in Donetsk

Brandon Lewis said the Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary are “fully engaged” in trying to help two British soldiers handed the death penalty for fighting Russian forces.

Boris Johnson has ordered ministers to do “everything in their power” to secure the release of Shaun Pinner, 48, and Aiden Aslin, 28, after the pair were condemned to death in what the UK Government has described as a “sham” sentencing.

Asked if there is anything Britain can actually do, the Northern Ireland Secretary told Sky News’ Sophy Ridge on Sunday: “It’s difficult to go into the details of any particular case. And, obviously, particularly without the consent of the individuals.

“But the Foreign Secretary and the Prime Minister, I know, are fully engaged on this, working with the Ukrainians because they were serving Ukrainian armed forces, and therefore they are protected by the Geneva Convention, something that all governments around the world have respected for decades now.

“It’s something that Russia should respect as well. As I say, we’ve seen (Vladimir) Putin act in a pretty abhorrent and illegal way consistently over the last few months.

“We’ve got to keep that pressure on and do everything we can to support not just these families, but actually everybody who’s fighting for democracy in Ukraine.”

Chiara Giordano12 June 2022 10:35

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Brandon Lewis says EU ‘disingenuous’ and Northern Ireland Protocol plan is legal

Brandon Lewis has accused the EU of being “disingenuous” about offering “flexibilities” on the Northern Ireland Protocol.

He told the BBC’s Sunday Morning programme: “What they’ve been saying consistently across the media and have been reported as saying is that they’re offering flexibilities. Well, they’re not.

“What the EU are offering is some flexibility based on a fully-implemented protocol. That would be, actually, worse than the situation we’ve got today.”

He added: “So, I do think they’ve been disingenuous in suggesting they’re being flexible when in fact they’ve not shown the flexibility that’s required to resolve these issues for the people of Northern Ireland.”

Chiara Giordano12 June 2022 10:26

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Brandon Lewis insists new legislation designed to tear up part of NI protocol is legal

NI secretary Brandon Lewis has insisted new legislation designed to tear up part of the NI protocol is legal and that critics will “see that” when it is published tomorrow.

The cabinet minister told Sky News’ Sophy Ridge on Sunday the move would not breach international law.

But he refused to guarantee that ministers would publish the legal advice they have received on the issue.

The government is facing a rebellion over the plans from Tory MPs worried the legislation will breach the UK’s international obligations.

Mr Lewis said: “We will be setting out our legal position on this. People will see that what we’re proposing resolves the key issues within the protocol that don’t work.”

He added: “The legislation we’ll outline tomorrow is within the law. What we’re going to do is lawful and it is correct.”

Chiara Giordano12 June 2022 10:18

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Government plans to allow agency workers to fill in for striking staff ‘outrageous’, says union

A union chief has described as “outrageous” potential government plans to allow agency workers to fill in for striking staff.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said Transport Secretary Grant Shapps should “try to resolve the dispute, not pour petrol on the flames and make matters worse”.

Asked about the Government plans, Mr Serwotka told Sky’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday programme: “That would be an outrageous act if the Government go down that road.

“We’ve already got the most restrictive anti-union legislation in the whole of western Europe. It’s already incredibly difficult for unions and workers to withdraw their labour. There are so many legal loopholes to fly through.

“If you think about what Grant Shapps is trying to do with that legislation, is to make industrial action ineffective, and I believe it’s a basic human right to be able to withdraw your labour.

“You only do it as a last resort and any attempts to bring people in to undermine disputes will not resolve the problems.”

Chiara Giordano12 June 2022 10:10

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Brandon Lewis accused of ‘talking through his hat’

Sinn Fein president Mary Lou McDonald said Brandon Lewis was “talking through his hat” by insisting legislation giving ministers powers to scrap parts of the Northern Ireland Protocol will not breach international law.

Mrs McDonald said: “Brandon Lewis is talking through his hat, and not for the first time.

“Brandon Lewis should know, the Tory government should know, that where there are issues to be resolved with the protocol, issues of smoothing out its application, there are mechanisms through which that can happen.

“There is a willingness here, a willingness to engage by the European Commission.

“But the British government has refused to engage, has not been constructive, has sought a destructive path and is now proposing to introduce legislation that will undoubtedly breach international law.

“And against the expressed democratic wishes of people in the north of Ireland who went to the polls, who made their democratic decision and who have returned a majority of members that support the protocol.”

Chiara Giordano12 June 2022 10:00

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Government to set out ‘legal basis’ underpinning new legislation on Northern Ireland Protocol

Brandon Lewis said the government will set out the “legal basis” underpinning its new legislation on the Northern Ireland Protocol.

Asked how people can be sure Monday’s move is not in breach of international law, and specifically if the government will publish the legal advice this is based on, he told Sky News’ Sophy Ridge on Sunday: “We’re setting out the legal basis on which we are taking forward this legislation.”

the environment secretary added: “We will be setting out our legal position on this. People will see that what we’re proposing resolves the key issues within the protocol that don’t work.”

Chiara Giordano12 June 2022 09:45

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Ministers ‘need to act like firefighters rather than arsonists’, says Rachel Reeves

This is new in from our Whitehall Editor Kate Devlin:

On suggestions the government could change the law to allow agency workers to replace those on strike, Labour’s Rachel Reeves told Sky’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday that ministers “need to act like firefighters rather than arsonists”.

Chiara Giordano12 June 2022 09:31

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Government ‘to break international law’ with proposal to scrap elements of Northern Ireland protocol, says Labour

The government “plans to break international law” with its proposal to scrap elements of Northern Ireland’s post-Brexit trade arrangements, Labour has suggested.

Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves told Sky News’ Sophy Ridge on Sunday: “It does look like the Government plans to break international law.

“This government seems to be developing a record for lawbreaking and it is not one that the Labour Party can support.

“We helped bring in the Good Friday agreement, we are deeply, passionately committed to it.

“We want the Northern Ireland Protocol to work but we know to get it to work we have to negotiate and work with our European partners.”

She added that Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer had showed “the leadership that, frankly, is lacking from the prime minister” by visiting the island of Ireland over the last week, adding that Labour would pursue a veterinary agreement with the EU if it were in government.

Chiara Giordano12 June 2022 09:20



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