The UK government has published a bill which threatens to depart from its long-standing advocacy of ‘the rule of law’ in international affairs. This will no doubt incur great damage to the UK’s sense of self, writes Conor Gearty (LSE). Before getting to the remarkable turn the UK government is inviting Parliament to make concerning what we can still call Brexit, it is worth recalling some background.
The European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Act 2020 declared itself a measure ‘to implement, and make other provision in connection with, the agreement between the United Kingdom and the EU under Article 50(2) of the Treaty on European Union which sets out the arrangements for the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the EU’. It received Royal Assent on 23 January.
The Agreement to which it refers was finalised on 19 October 2019. It contains a Protocol on ‘Ireland/Northern Ireland’. Under the terms of this Protocol (Article 10(1)), a range of EU laws (set out in Annex 5 to the Protocol) ‘shall apply to the United Kingdom, including concerning measures supporting the production of and trade in agricultural products in Northern Ireland, in respect of measures which affect that trade between Northern Ireland and the Union which is subject to this Protocol.’ There are exceptions to this requirement (Article 10(2)) which are to be determined by the ‘procedures set out in Annex 6’ of the Protocol. These procedures entail the setting of the detailed rules by an EU and UK ‘Joint Committee’ (established under Article 164 of the main treaty) which then has the power to vary them. But if ‘the Joint Committee fails to determine the initial level of support and percentage in accordance with [this Annex], or fails to adjust the level of support and percentage in accordance with [it], by the end of the transition period or within 1 year of the entry into force of a future Multiannual Financial Framework, as the case may be, application of Article 10(2) shall be suspended until the Joint Committee has determined or adjusted the level of support and percentage’: in other words, all favourable treatment will be out the window. The institutions of the European Union, and in particular the European Court of Justice, are specifically given a role with regard to the interpretation of, among other provisions, Article 10: Article 12(4).
All of this clearly constituted a huge range of concessions by the UK to the ongoing application of EU law within the state. Anything with a whiff of Northern Ireland to it becomes exposed to EU restrictions even if the investment under scrutiny is not based in Northern Ireland or not primarily aimed at that part of the United Kingdom. But the agreement of the 19th October is a Treaty and the Protocol is part of it: no one doubts that. Nor is there any dispute that the treaty forms part of international law by which the UK has agreed to be bound. Distasteful in retrospect perhaps, not understood at the time by those who signed it, but so what? Countries often sign treaties they dislike and want to get out of later. But they are generally stuck with them. The example of Germany under Chancellor Hitler did not end well, despite the short term domestic popularity of his rejection of the Treaty of Versailles. And unlike that German leader, the United Kingdom constantly protests its support for international law, calling for its better enforcement and excoriating those countries (like China in relation to Hong Kong) that it says breaches its terms. Even when the UK has waged controversial wars (such as Iraq) it has gone to endless trouble to establish an international law explanation, however flimsy others might regard it.
The UK government has now published a bill which promises (or threatens) to depart from this decades-long approach to international law. If enacted, the United Kingdom Internal Markets Bill as currently drafted purports to authorise domestic public authorities to seize the powers of the Joint Committee unto itself: clause 40. This might be to implement the Protocol (clause 40(2)(a)(i)) but it does not have to be: clause 40(2)(a)(ii). Clause 42 envisages ministers having the exclusive power to manage the movement of goods between Northern Ireland and Great Britain. A power of unilateral interpretation of Article 10 of the Protocol is likewise asserted: clause 43. And then, just in case all this was thought to be some mistake or administrative aberration, clause 45(1) asserts that both clauses 42 and 43 and their related regulations shall have effect ‘notwithstanding any relevant international or domestic law with which they may be incompatible or inconsistent.’ This is specifically said to include the Ireland/Northern Ireland Protocol: clause 45(4)(a).
What is going on? It is obvious why a senior government lawyer resigned: it was his job to ensure that bills respected the law, and this one manifestly does not. Maybe the government intends to withdraw the clauses but if it does humiliation cannot be avoided: these are such bald claims that they cannot be finessed by a qualifying word here or there. Maybe it hopes that the measure will fail in Parliament and so it will have demonstrated its determination without openly flouting what the country has long claimed to be a central principle. Again it is hard to see this happening without an embarrassing insistence on its own defeat: such is the strength of both its control over the lower house and its capacity to override the Lords. Will the courts strike the clauses down? Again very unlikely as the Bill is unequivocal and recent case-law (not least the Miller decision on the prerogative) has emphasised parliamentary sovereignty rather than wider ethical claims of human rights and the rule of law (as one or two earlier cases did). Maybe the powers being discretionary there is no intention ever to deploy them, but if this is the plan then why bother going to all this trouble for nothing? Perhaps it is a cunning plan to lure the EU into ending all talks and so guarantee a ‘no-deal’ Brexit for which it hopes the EU will get the blame, but the provocation is so egregious this outcome seems unlikely, and anyway, why turn guaranteed national decline into immediate suicide?
Of course, there may well be international and European legal proceedings. In the short term though this deliberate use of Ireland to raise the stakes with regard to the EU puts a hard border in Ireland back on the agenda, and closer now than it has ever been: the EU simply has to have territorial boundaries to maintain the integrity of its single market and this will have to be in Ireland if it is not in the sea between Northern Ireland and Great Britain. Anyone with any knowledge of Britain’s conduct in Ireland should not be in the least surprised by this. A former Secretary of State’s claim that Britain has no ‘selfish, strategic or economic interest’ in Northern Ireland may have been true in 1990 when it was uttered but it is manifestly not the case today.
The greatest damage, though, will be to the United Kingdom’s sense of self. It runs no empire anymore; indeed it can barely hold itself together. Its government hates human rights and tries to abandon them when it can. Regional co-operation is out. True the government says it is committed to British values, but that can’t be true any longer as these are said to include ‘the rule of law’. The freedom Brexit seeks to achieve has no content.
This article gives the views of the author, not the position of LSE Brexit, or the London School of Economics.
Those who will be outraged by any challenge to the Irish Protocol will be those who do not wish Britain to leave the EU. Those who support Brexit and wish to break free of the EU will largely accept it as necessary for leaving the EU. Britain remains polarised regardless. But what this now reveals is that Brexit was always about the issue of sovereignty and who makes the laws of the United Kingdom. It exposes the limitations of Boris Johnson’s withdrawal agreement, that the withdrawal agreement is limited in its ability to allow the UK full sovereignty. Its difficult to tell if Johnson has taken this action without realising its wider implications or if it is a conscious attempt to raise the issue of sovereignty and rally behind him the supporters of brexit. It might be a very dangerous strategy for Johnson but it is potentially even more dynamite for the EU. Its once again raises the question of who makes the laws of the United Kingdom, Westminster or the EU?
“But what this now reveals is that Brexit was always about the issue of sovereignty and who makes the laws of the United Kingdom.”
But what this now reveals is that Brexit was always about the issue of superiority and who makes the laws governing any equal partnership .
There, fixed that for you. As they say.
Your first sentence is irrelevant. It should read, “Those who are outraged will be the people, regardless of political inclination, that realise compliance with the law and honouring agreements are parts of the bedrock of any society that wants to do the best for its people.
You do not understand the meaning of sovereignty. You seem to have fallen for the Brexit myth designed to mislead a few more voters onto their side. Your comment would be better appearing in the Daily Express, surely?
UK government made the decision to join the EU and later to leave it. When the UK was a member it naturally complied with the laws relating to membership as would any normal member of any normal organisation. This was done by passing a bill that incorporated EU regulations into British law, where appropriate. It must be remembered that the EU prohibits itself from interfering in member’s domestic regulation. But at any time the UK was at liberty to cease the compliance and membership, which it did. Throughout membership the UK was a sovereign state. As are the present members. The fact that they CHOOSE to make some decisions together, democratically, does not stop them being sovereign states. Making frequent mention of sovereignty was part of the process of misleading less well-informed members of the public, who had already been softened up by years of reading our disgraceful tabloids.
Apologies to Charlie. My reply was to Mark but I clicked on the wrong ‘Reply’!
If you were to refer to the myth of sovereignty, rather than sovereignty, I think you’d be on to something.
“Those who will be outraged by any challenge to the Irish Protocol will be those who do not wish Britain to leave the EU. ” If being a Brexiteer means contempt for international law, so much the worse for Brexiteers. But fortunately this is not true. Michael (Lord) Howard backed Leave https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/feb/26/former-tory-leader-michael-howard-call-uk-leave-eu but he is opposing the latest changes https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-54105455 .
On another thread on this blog, a contributor was urging the EU to trust the UK. He was right that trust is an essential part of international politics, but it has to be earned. No-one will bother doing deals with you if they know you will rip them up a year later. I hope it won’t happen and that Boris Johnson’s latest move is just a negotiating ploy. Even if that it is not very reputable.
The GFA was wrong in finalising the lack of need for an internal hard border in the island of Ireland. It pandered to the suspicion that there should be peace at all costs and which guaranteed nothing of the sort. Until NI people have a vote on their future with the UK or the Irish Republic they will remain in the doldrums. As for trade, anything which creates problems and limits the work ability of the transfer of goods should be removed. Once the UK is no longer controlled in its freedom to act as an independent state it should then start to dismantle the GFA and give NI the ability to decide on a hard border or independence. An open border is not good in defence of the UK.
Surely Section 38 of the EU Withdrawal Act 2020 (which came into force on 31st Jan 2020), guarantees the Sovereignty of Parliament in all matters covered by the Withdrawal Act and its Protocols? It is an effective “carte blanche” for momentary Unilateralism on this topic only – and to be honest, you can see why the legal draftsmen thought Section 38 was needed, looking back over the last few years.
Indeed, it is because of the EU’s failure to uphold its own Maastricht Treaty guaranteeing primacy of National Sovereignty over EU Law whenever possible (the “subsidiarity” principle), that the UK is leaving. So it seems invidious to stir up the main hornet’s nest AGAIN, in a last-ditch attempt to destroy UK Sovereignty.
I vaguely remember warnings back in 2000 or 2001, that the USA and China were proceeding towards Unilateralism and the rest of the world would probably follow suit. I don’t think the UK SHOULD follow suit – but it is not really swimming against the general 21st century tide to be a wee bit Unilateral in the final stages of this long and exhausting attempt to use Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty.
Why even bother to sign a WA if to tear it one year after.
Signing at pace? Civil servants? When you know that Johnson has a very bright adviser named Cummins?
Four years ago I waged that UK would exit with no deal. I was right. What an interesting saga since and before referendum. Now we will see pariah state before seeing in one year or two the return of the normal state. Economical difficulties will be real. What a waste.
This sorry saga follows a long line of HMG actions against the ROI. Students if international economics are well aware of the UK/Ireland trade war of 1932/5. This led ultimately to the loss of the treaty ports, ireland’s neutrality & it’s declaration of a Republic.
There are already suspicions that HMG will prioritise UK vehicles at it’s ports to obstruct RoI trade.
In taking these actions, HMG aligns itself with other State actors, most notably China as it relates to Hong Kong.
The Belfast / Good Friday Agreement is also an international agreement, sponsored by the US & the EU, and as a matter of UK law, is prioritised, over the WA and was respected as such by the EU in it’s drafting of the WA (the common law principal of the equal equities, the first in time prevails – recent case in HM courts regarding Romania refers to similar principals).
Several commentators refer to renegotiating the Belfast &c. Agg’t. This is not so easy, as it would probably go to a referendy in the RoI, with little chance of success.
Finally, these actions place HMG, and probably the whole of the UK on the rogue side of the State balance sheet.
If that’s where HMG see their position, that’s fine, but there will be consequences –
It is striking to me how this is all self-inflicted.
The referendum was not about leaving the Single Market, but about leaving the EU. Johnson insisted even after the referendum that the UK would still maintain access to the single market and historically strongly supported the UK’s participation in it.
Then Theresa May, the ERG and Johnson decided to move the goal posts on Brexit and decided Brexit can only be ‘real’ and ‘valid’ if the UK completely departs from the single market – even though every Brexiteer, moderate or extreme, pointed to Norway and Switzerland as models to follow after the UK leaves the EU.
Populist rhetoric boxed them into a situation where submitting to regulations and duties pertaining to the single market would be the equivalent of ‘waving the white flag’ and ‘becoming a vassal state’.
Of course, it was always clear that severing ties with a huge trade block on your door step would introduce the dilemma of marrying the diverging political powers with economic pain, but populist rhetoric refused to concede to this reality.
The WA was a way out of the Irish border dilemma to honor the Good Friday Agreement and the capricious demands from Brexiteers. The UK would be able to leave the single market, but Northern Ireland would not for the sake of peace. Even though the Conservatives heavily campaigned in favor of this agreement, they had apparently never acknowledged or understood that reality.
We are now back at square one. Why can’t there be an internal free market in the UK? The answer, due to Ireland being a member of the EU, is that the UK should remain a part of the EU single market. As long as the UK becomes like Norway or Switzerland – i.e. what they campaigned on during the 2016 Referendum, they can have their pie and eat it: peace in Ireland and a frictionless internal market.
Why are they contemplating a no-deal and usurpation of Northern Ireland instead? We are four years further and they have never stopped working in moving the goal post on what Brexit actually means. Each day the type of Brexit the British people voted for in their minds is more extreme, as negotiations go on and concessions have to be made to play a role in one of the largest trading blocs in the world.
Brexiteers, the only way to end this is to swallow your silly pride and remain part of the EU’s single market. It fulfills the promises of the Referendum, your own promises, and it resolves the Irish question. It would not be the equivalent of waving a white flag, but doing what’s sensible and what’s best for the country.
I have one simple question: If the government’s most senior law officers, that is, both the Lord Chancellor and the Attorney General cannot speak up for the rule of law, who will?
In addition to my comment earlier, I came across an interesting article by Nick Cohen. It concerns on our Attorney General. I am sad to say that I have come across lawyers like her at the Bar. It’s a very sad affair for the rule of law. Here’s the article: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/sep/12/when-even-the-attorney-general-flouts-the-law-what-hope-does-britain-have-suella-braverman
There is no law at all in that article, is there? Just ad hominems galore. Gutter press. Changing the subject, I would be interested to know what YOU think of the NIP as a legal document, and in particular what you think of Article 10 relating to State Aid (and a couple of other articles retaining EU control over the whole UK via UK trade with Northern Ireland – in perpetuity). It is only my opinion that it is an Unfair Contract – but it is a fact that it was signed under great pressure to achieve Brexit without too much further delay, and thus certain flaws in it may have been overlooked (by accident or design). In fact it was a comment from a member of the public (a “man on the Clapham Omnibus”) to the effect that the WA was signed under pressure, that made me remember that Treaties can be Unfair Contracts.
The Brexit-Brits want their 19th century back, while Europeans want to leave the 20th century behind.
From both we can learn that the law will never be above the strongest political will.
The current UK and US governments remind me of an experiment I read about 20/30 years ago, where rats were confined in more and more crowded conditions. Eventually all semblance of mutual co-operation or co-existence broke down, ‘murder’ and cannibalism broke out, and eventually the rats mostly all died.
I am still grappling with that NI Protocol (NIP) – I had not read it before this row broke out, and am wondering how many people actually have read it?
The NIP is dead cheeky, and inserts masses of EU legal controls into selected areas like State Aid, VAT, Wholesale Electricity Markets, and so on. They are permanent, what is more.
I seem to remember, when stuyding the rules about Fair Contracts and the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts
Regulations 1999, that International Treaties are particularly prone to falling foul of universal Fair Contract principles.
In jurisprudence, undue influence is an equitable doctrine that involves one person taking advantage of a position of power over another person. This inequity in power between the parties can vitiate one party’s consent as they are unable to freely exercise their independent will. Where it is established that a plaintiff was induced to enter into a Treaty or other Contract/Transaction by the undue influence of the defendant, the contract may be rendered voidable. If undue influence is proved in a Contract of any kind, the innocent party is entitled to set aside the contract against the defendant, and the remedy is rescission.
This excursion into international law caught my attention because I was interested in the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (such as the Irish, for instance) who had been browbeaten by colonizers (such as the English/Scots in that example), and how this can extend beyond military invasion to “Treaties With The Natives” where the Natives are at a disadvantage in any Contract situation, so a deeply Unfair Contract may ensue.
I do think that for once, it was Britain that was in the position of the Native v. the imperial power, in dealing with the EU (which is not at all the same as Europe and its peoples, just as the British Government was not the same as the British people in many colonial abuses of power). I know it is hard to get your head round this reversal of fortune if you are English (or indeed Irish, Scottish or Welsh) – but “how are the mighty fallen” is not an unusual scenario in world history.
Edith: “I do think that for once, it was Britain that was in the position of the Native v. the imperial power, in dealing with the EU” In what way? There was no obligation on the UK to agree any withdrawal agreement at all. If the UK had simply not signed any agreement and not asked for a prolongation, then there would have been, in accordance with international law, a no-deal Brexit. There were no EU soldiers with Gatling guns threatening to march on London in the event of no-deal, which is the sort of power situation I think you need to get your analogy with “Native v. the imperial power” to fly.
Treaties between indigenous peoples and imperial powers is a big topic – I only know a bit about ones in what is now called the Commonwealth. There will have been many thousands over the centuries, in other Empires and Colonies. Treaties of this kind do not always follow violence or intimidation – and there may even appear to be parity between the two parties. Many tribal peoples were proud, and savvy. They were often keen to make Treaties – or appeared keen anyway. The same is true of many commercial and consumer Contracts.
It is only after signing, if problems have arisen, that courts have ruled that some Treaties and Contracts must be interpreted “contra proferentem” – giving the benefit of any doubt in favor of the party that did not provide the contract. This contra proferentem rule, ancient English common law, is now codified internationally, for situations where the contract or treaty is more or less bound to be the product of bargaining between parties in unfair or uneven positions. Landlord and tenant, insurance, and tribal peoples, are classic examples where there is likely to be an unfair or uneven position from the off, and extra care must be taken when drafting the contract or treaty, not to create an unfair document.
In fact, listening to the debate in the House of Commons just now, I see that the N.I.Protocol does provide such a safeguard, at Article 16 – one of the MPs mentioned it. Article 16 is titled “Safeguards”, Section 1 says “If the application of this Protocol leads to serious economic, societal or environmental difficulties that are liable to persist, or to diversion of trade, the Union or the United Kingdom may unilaterally take appropriate safeguard measures. Such safeguard measures shall be restricted with regard to their scope and duration to what is strictly necessary in order to remedy the situation. Priority shall be given to such measures as will least disturb the
functioning of this Protocol. ” Section 2 says much the same, and Section 3 refers to Annex 7 for procedure.
There is no need for Gatling guns etc. for an imbalance of power to exist – and for the Offeror of the Contract or Treaty to be at risk of being overbearing, unless they are very careful. The EU’s lawyers are top notch, and honest – clearly they knew this, or that Article 16 would not be there. But the lawyers were not doing the negotiating.
The final Withdrawal Agreement was not liked in the UK – but by that time, resistance had been sapped and the whole Nation would have signed anything probably. Clearly a classic imbalance of power situation – which could have been avoided by simply walking out without a deal, but the UK was unable to do this with a clear conscience.
“In fact, listening to the debate in the House of Commons just now, I see that the N.I.Protocol does provide such a safeguard, at Article 16 – one of the MPs mentioned it.” Indeed. Which alone seems to me to blow out of the water the idea that you need to break international law, which the UK Government is now proposing, to avoid application leading “to serious economic, societal or environmental difficulties that are liable to persist, or to diversion of trade”.
“The final Withdrawal Agreement was not liked in the UK – but by that time, resistance had been sapped and the whole Nation would have signed anything probably. ” It was not the Nation that signed the Withdrawal Agreement, it was the Government with the consent of Parliament.
Let me provide an alternative interpretation. Boris Johnson wanted to get out the parliamentary deadlock a year ago by winning a general election. He knew he would be unlikely to win a general election on no-deal. So he put together a deal, knowing that he would repudiate it later by trashing the UK’s reputation. The British public were conned into voting for a no-deal government which they didn’t want.
Well, you are entitled to theorize about what was going on, I am not sure it gets us anywhere. A theory is just a theory. In any case, even if your theory is right, I cannot see what is unlawful about such pragmatism. Everyone accepted that negotiation would continue after signing the WA and NIP. That is what the Joint Committee is for – doing what builders call “snagging” after a job is basically finished, but certain things still need fixing.
On the topic of Article 16 of the NIP, having looked at it I see that it is fairly useless because it simply opens up m opportunities for more tit-for-tat silliness. Section 1 says “If the application of this Protocol leads to serious economic, societal or environmental difficulties that are liable to persist, or to diversion of trade, the Union or the United Kingdom may unilaterally take appropriate safeguard measures. Such safeguard measures shall be restricted with regard to their scope and duration to what is strictly necessary in order to remedy the situation. Priority shall be given to such measures as will least disturb the functioning of this Protocol.”
Section 2 says – “If a safeguard measure taken by the Union or the United Kingdom, as the case may be, in accordance with paragraph 1 creates an imbalance between the rights and obligations under
this Protocol, the Union or the United Kingdom, as the case may be, may take such proportionate rebalancing measures as are strictly necessary to remedy the imbalance. Priority shall be given to such measures as will least disturb the functioning of this Protocol.”
The word “imbalance” is vague and merely allows more shenanigans – indeed I see that Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič stated on 10th Sept 2020, that “the Withdrawal Agreement contains a number of mechanisms and legal remedies to address violations of the legal obligations contained in the text – which the European Union will not be shy in using” – OK, but whoever uses them first is on a hiding to nothing because the other party will simply lob the issue back over the net and this will continue back and forth till the cows come home and beyond. No, the only remedy is the safeguard of UK sovereignty in the Internal Markets Bill, as both the WA and the NIP retain way too much overriding jurisdiction for the ECJ in various vital matters – either we are leaving or we are not, the EU cannot accept that we are, clearly. Indeed, an assortment of officials like Guy Verhofstadt, have openly declared that they will attempt to make leaving as difficult as possible – they are entitled to take this attitude, but should not be surprised if the UK does not take this lying down.
“Well, you are entitled to theorize about what was going on, I am not sure it gets us anywhere. A theory is just a theory.” If you don’t like my theory, why not propose another one? I admit I’m not certain. A second theory would be that Boris Johnson and his government incompetently failed to see the implications of the Withdrawal Agreement when they sold it to the British public last year. But I can’t think of a third explanation, can you?
“In any case, even if your theory is right, I cannot see what is unlawful about such pragmatism.” Things have come to a pretty pass if anything politicians is OK if it doesn’t land them in gaol. Lying to the public in a General Election about what you are going to do is just wrong.
“On the topic of Article 16 of the NIP, having looked at it I see that it is fairly useless because it simply opens up m opportunities for more tit-for-tat silliness.” So I gather you don’t like Article 16 because somewhere down the road it might create problems with retaliation if one party is determined to act in bad faith.
So how is it any better to create a situation now where you get all those problems, by acting in bad faith? Why not give the Withdrawal Agreement a chance to work, rather than sabotaging it right away?
I heard the Johnsonian explanation of this, which is that somehow this will make it more likely that the UK gets a free trade deal with the EU. How on earth making it clear that you don’t consider yourself bound by treaty commitments is going to make anyone want to sign a treaty with you is beyond me. We’ve already seen the reaction not just from the EU but from the Democrats in the USA. The “easiest trade deal in history” is getting further and further away.
This may seem odd, but having started out with Section 38 of the Withdrawal Act 2020 (on 10th September), I have come full circle back to it, via an interesting debate with poster Alias. Since an international Treaty signed by the UK is not valid until enacted by Parliament, the WA2020 is the Treaty, which enshrines the earlier Withdrawal Agreement between the UK and the EU in domestic law. (R v. Miller confirms.)
We know what Section 38 says, or we can look it up. It effectively cancels Article 4 of the Withdrawal Agreement, which inserts ECJ jurisdiction – for an indefinite period – over certain matters. It also cancels bits of the NI Protocol that do the same.
I have little doubt that the Johnson government flagged up Article 4 as needing revision, but having failed to get anywhere, decided to override it when enacting the Agreement reached by the May government into domestic law, via this Section 38. This may sound cavalier – but if the EU was indeed insisting on retaining ECJ jurisdiction on may vital matters – in perpetuity to boot – then that is more than cavalier. Faced with a choice between No Deal and a Deal with Article 4 overridden by Parliament when it enacted the Agreement into UK Law, it seems sensible to choose the second option. Though many Brexiteers, including Conservative MEP Daniel Hannan, were saying just leave with No Deal.
The simple question is “Do the people of the UK want the EU to have any control over the UK?”
The simple answer is “No they do not”
So a so called Treaty/Agreement will have to be reTreated or reAgreed.
Can any one tell me a good reason not to?
Good question. Probably not. Unless you count the Blair Thing as a “legal person”.
I thank you Edith,it is good to see you and I agree on TB as only possibly being a person.
I do wish that ex politicians who decide to lose their voice would not suddenly come out of the woodwork and try to give an opinion on a mess they left.
«Pacta sunt servanda», remember?
It’s very, very simple really: You do a bargain and then you stick to it, even when you are not fully aware of all the consequences and its possible ramifications.
You stick to the bargain you made in spite of it being a bad bargain, with stiff upper lip and tight arse as you Brits used to say…
Not so difficult an endeavour if you try doing it in good faith.
Oh, wait: it’s Boris & The Tories Late Show!! Common Law doesn’t apply anymore…