Amal Clooney has stepped down from her role as UK press freedom envoy “appalled” by the government’s desire to violate international Brexit law.
The human rights lawyer said it was “lamentable” that Boris Johnson was considering rescinding the Brexit deal he signed last year.
She couldn’t tell others to honor legal obligations when the UK “declares it has no intention of doing it itself”.
The prime minister says he does not want to use the powers of the domestic market bill.
But he says the legislation is needed to give the government the power to protect the UK and, in particular Northern Ireland, if trade talks fail and the EU acts “unreasonably”.
In her resignation letter, Ms Clooney, who is married to Hollywood actor George Clooney, said she accepted the post last year due to the UK’s historic role in upholding the legal order international.
But she said the government’s attempts to push through the home market bill, which passed its first hurdle in the Commons last week, made her position “untenable.”
She said she had decided to resign after meeting with Foreign Minister Dominic Raab and having “no assurance that a change of position is imminent”.
She added: “It is lamentable that the UK is talking about its intention to violate an international treaty signed by the Prime Minister less than a year ago.
“It has become untenable for me, as special envoy, to urge other states to respect and apply international obligations when the UK says it has no intention of doing so. -even. “
Ms Clooney was appointed by Jeremy Hunt, Mr Raab’s predecessor, in the final months of Theresa May’s government and continued in that post after Boris Johnson took over from No 10.
She has served as Vice Chair of the High Level Legal Expert Panel which works with the governments of the UK and Canada on their campaign to promote media freedom around the world.
Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer, who worked at the same law firm as Ms Clooney, said she made the right decision.
“I know Amal and she is a top notch lawyer. I am not surprised that she resigned because, like others, she concluded that there was a conflict between a violation of international law – on which the government seems determined – and our reputation as a country in the world. world that respects the rule of law, ”he said.
His resignation adds to a growing list of high profile legal figures who have stepped down because of the government’s stance.
Lord Keen resigned his duties as attorney general for Scotland on Wednesday, saying he was finding it “increasingly difficult to reconcile” his duties as a lawyer with the provisions of the law.
The government’s top legal adviser – Sir Jonathan Jones, permanent secretary in the government’s legal department – had already resigned, as had Britain’s envoy for the protection of religious freedoms, Conservative MP Rehman Chishti.
The EU has demanded the government remove sections of the bill that would give the UK the power to override agreements on the movement of goods between Northern Ireland and Britain and subsidies to businesses in OR.
Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis admitted the powers, if ever used, would violate the UK’s treaty obligations under international law in a “specific and limited” way.
The PM has sought to quell a potential rebellion by Tory MPs next week by promising critics that the Commons will get a specific vote on powers before the government can use them.
But former Tory leader Lord Howard said the prime minister had to go further, saying it was a matter of principle and he doubted the Lords would support the bill as is.