According to the draft of a new proposed law at Westminster, the government of Prime Minister Boris Johnson is considering ignoring or overriding parts of the Withdrawal Agreement reached between the United Kingdom and the European Union on the terms of Brexit.
The bill comes at a time when there are less than three months left to negotiate the future trade and working relationship between London and the EU before the transition period ends at midnight on December 31.
It seems clear this blatant disregard of international treaties and commitments are little more than an attempt by the Johnson government to ratchet up pressure on Brussels over the current trade talks.
There is no room nor appetite now for such purely political maneuverings from London to contemplate reopening that agreement. That ship has sailed: International agreements are cast in stone
So far, progress in the trade talks has been tortuously slow. Coronavirus aside, the current talks are making little progress in the key areas of fishing and the future governance arrangement between the UK and EU.
If the glacial rate of progress is any indication, there is every likelihood that a trade deal cannot be reached by the end of the transition period.
Long years of talks
London’s moves are not sitting well with the EU nor with politicians on the island of Ireland. It took three long years of talks, two separate agreements and three failed attempts by the UK parliament before the actual agreed deal could be reached.
There is no room nor appetite now for such purely political maneuverings from London to contemplate reopening that agreement. That ship has sailed: International agreements are cast in stone — and so too the Good Friday Accords that brought peace to Ireland after three long decades of political and sectarian violence. Any attempt to undermine that or to re-impose a hard border on the island of Ireland will threaten that peace.
The UK government would do well to recognise that it faces disunity within its borders. The government in Scotland is chomping at the bit for a second independence referendum — and these reports do nothing to ease the mistrust of Scottish nationalists.
If London can’t abide its signature and deals passed into law and registered at the United Nations, what currency does it hold in the international community?
We can only assume that suggesting the EU Withdrawal Agreement can be altered is an attempt to jump-start talks to a more urgent level.
Coronavirus and the economic chaos it has brought should serve as a warning to London that no deal Brexit on World Trade Organisation terms will only worsen the UK’s economic standing now.