Brexit news – live: Johnson's plans 'unconscionable', says former attorney general as Sunak warned of furlough 'catastrophe'


(Sky News)

Geoffrey Cox, Boris Johnson’s former attorney general, has struck out at the prime minister’s plan to override the Brexit deal as Tory opposition to the controversial legislation grew.

Mr Cox, who backed Leave in the referendum campaign, said it was “unconscionable” that the UK should seek to break international law by rewriting the withdrawal agreement with the European Union.

Meanwhile, a trade union boss warned the government that the end of the furlough scheme could trigger mass redundancies. 

Frances O’Grady, general secretary of the Trades Union Congress, said: “Unemployment isn’t just miserable for families, it will hold back the economy, just at the time when if we are facing further spikes and lockdowns we need more support.

“We’ve put forward proposals to the government for a job retention and upskilling scheme and I’m really appealing to the chancellor to stand by working families and keep people at work.”

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David Cameron joins all living former PMs in condemnation of Johnson’s plan to break law

Former prime minister David Cameron has criticised Boris Johnson’s plan to break international law by overriding parts of the withdrawal agreement with the European Union.

Mr Cameron joins Tony Blair, John Major, Gordon Brown and Theresa May in their criticism of the plan, which would give ministers power to override provisions of the Brexit divorce treaty.

“Passing an act of parliament and then going on to break an international treaty obligation is the very, very last thing you should contemplate. It should be an absolute final resort, so I do have misgivings about what is being proposed,” the former prime minister told reporters on Monday.

MPs will debate the Internal Market Bill on Monday afternoon. Theresa May, the only former prime minister remaining in the House of Commons, expressed concern that the government’s plan would damage the UK’s reputation among international partners.

Writing together in The Sunday Times, Tony Blair and John Major warned the plan threatens the Northern Ireland peace process and would question “the very integrity of our nation”, while Gordon Brown said it was a “huge act of self harm”.

Liam James14 September 2020 09:05

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Chancellor warned of mass unemployment ‘catastrophe’

Rishi Sunak is being  warned time is running out to prevent a “catastrophe of mass unemployment” as the government’s furlough scheme nears its end.

Frances O’Grady, general secretary of the Trades Union Congress (TUC), will issue a plea to the chancellor on Monday to continue supporting jobs and “stand by working families”.

Speaking at the TUC’s general congress as fears of a second wave of coronavirus mount, the union chief will warn the UK faces a “tsunami of job losses” without continued state intervention.

Ms O’Grady’s remarks come as the Treasury prepares to end the job retention scheme (JRS) which has supported millions of private sector workers throughout the pandemic.

“From this Thursday, it will be just 45 days before the JRS ends. That’s the notice period that companies have to give if they intend to make mass redundancies,” Ms O’Grady will say.

“This pandemic isn’t scheduled to end in October so neither should state support for jobs.”

Liam James14 September 2020 08:38

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Geoffrey Cox strikes out at Brexit plan

Geoffrey Cox, who was Boris Johnson’s attorney general until March, has said it would be “unconscionable” to override the Brexit deal.

As the latest Tory MP to speak out against the plan, Mr Cox said there is “no doubt” the “unpalatable” implications of the Withdrawal Agreement were known when the prime minister signed it.

Writing in The Times, Mr Coxwarned that he would not back the UK Internal Market Bill unless ministers dispel the impression they plan to “permanently and unilaterally” rewrite an international agreement.

Liam James14 September 2020 08:08

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Good morning and welcome to Monday’s liveblog. We’ll be bringing you the latest updates on UK politics and Brexit as the prime minister faces mounting opposition to his Brexit plan.

Liam James14 September 2020 08:01



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