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Ex-UK leaders rap govt. for 'embarrassing' nation

Sep 14, 2020

London (United Kingdom), September 14: Former UK prime ministers have lambasted the government for submitting a bill that would override part of the Brexit withdrawal agreement between Britain and the European Union.
John Major and Tony Blair jointly wrote in The Sunday Times that the government's action is "shaming itself and embarrassing" the UK.
The two condemned the government for attempting to disregard obligations under the withdrawal agreement.
They added, "The government seeks to do so by the extraordinary pretence that breaking international law is necessary to 'save the Good Friday agreement.'" The 1998 agreement helped to end the conflict in Northern Ireland.
Theresa May, another former prime minister, also questioned whether the UK's international partners would retain trust in the country.
European Council President Charles Michel tweeted on Sunday that the international credibility of the UK is at stake.
The UK withdrew from the EU in January. The Brexit agreement ensures that EU rules will apply to trade between Northern Ireland, which is part of the UK, and Ireland, an EU member.
But the UK's proposed bill would grant the government the power to set regulations if it and the EU fail to reach an agreement in their ongoing free trade talks. The government sent the legislation to the House of Commons on Wednesday.
The two sides have been negotiating an accord to maintain smooth trade after the Brexit transition period expires at the end of this year. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson set October 15 as the deadline for concluding the talks.
Some analysts see the bill as part of a strategy to gain an edge in the negotiations. But concerns are mounting as trade between the UK and the EU will be subject to tariffs, starting next year, if they fail to cut a deal.
Source: NHK World