The UK authorities’s legislation officer for Scotland, Lord Keen, has provided his resignation to the prime minister.
BBC Scotland understands the advocate common has discovered it troublesome to reconcile plans to override the Brexit withdrawal settlement with the legislation.
Lord Keen’s resignation has not but been accepted by Downing Street.
BBC Scotland chief political correspondent Glenn Campbell mentioned there gave the impression to be an effort to steer the legislation officer to stay within the submit.
The authorities’s most senior lawyer – Sir Jonathan Jones, everlasting secretary to the federal government authorized division – has already resigned over the legislation, which handed its first parliamentary take a look at on Monday.
The row centres on the UK authorities’s Internal Markets Bill, which Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis told MPs could “break international law” by overriding the withdrawal settlement signed with the EU.
Lord Keen subsequently argued within the House of Lords that his view was that “the bill does not of itself constitute a breach of international law or of the rule of law”.
He mentioned that Mr Lewis had “essentially answered the wrong question”.
But the Northern Ireland secretary has since doubled down, saying that his assertion was a “very straight answer” which was “absolutely in line” with authorized recommendation.
BBC Political Editor Laura Kuenssberg mentioned Lord Keen’s resignation had been rumoured for days, and had in the end occurred “after Brandon Lewis contradicted him this morning”.
Richard Keen had been the chairman of the Scottish Conservatives till being appointed as Advocate General in 2015 – when he was additionally made a life peer as Baron Keen of Elie.
The QC has represented the UK authorities in court docket in a variety of high-profile instances, together with over the prorogation of parliament in 2019 and the “Article 50” Brexit case in 2016-17.
As a legislation officer within the UK authorities, Lord Keen has been defending plans to provide ministers powers to vary the EU withdrawal settlement within the occasion that the 2 sides cannot agree a commerce deal.
He has argued that whereas this a part of the UK inner market bill creates rigidity with the UK’s worldwide obligations, that isn’t unprecedented and that home legislation ought to prevail.
The bother is, the Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis has already mentioned that overriding the Brexit divorce deal would break worldwide legislation in a “very specific and limited way” and he is rejected Lord Keen’s suggestion that he’d answered incorrectly.
That’s made it more and more troublesome for Lord Keen to reconcile the federal government’s plans with the legislation and he wrote to the prime minister on Wednesday morning providing his resignation.
That was not instantly accepted and the federal government gave the impression to be making efforts to steer him to remain.
Lord Keen could be the primary member of the federal government to stop over its strategy to this challenge, which has drawn criticism from former attorneys common and all 5 former prime ministers.
What is the Internal Markets Bill?
The bill units out guidelines for the operation of the UK inner market – commerce between England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – after the top of the Brexit transition interval in January.
- No new checks on items shifting from Northern Ireland to the remainder of Great Britain
- Giving UK ministers powers to change or “disapply” guidelines referring to the motion of products that may come into drive from 1 January if the UK and EU are unable to achieve an alternate settlement via a commerce deal
- Powers to override beforehand agreed obligations on state support – authorities assist for companies
The bill explicitly states that these powers ought to apply even when they’re incompatible with worldwide legislation.
Ministers say the laws is required to stop “damaging” tariffs on items travelling from the remainder of the UK to Northern Ireland if negotiations with the EU on a free commerce settlement fail.
But some senior Conservatives – together with former Prime Minister John Major – have warned it dangers undermining the UK’s repute as an upholder of worldwide legislation.
The laws has additionally proved controversial with the devolved administrations, that are involved about how the UK’s “internal market” will function post-Brexit and who will set laws and requirements.
Meanwhile, European Commission President Ursula van der Leyen has warned the UK can not unilaterally put aside the withdrawal settlement.
She mentioned on Wednesday the settlement was the one method to assure the Northern Ireland peace course of, and warned that its alternative would undermine belief within the UK.
Last week marked the beginning of the eighth spherical of post-Brexit commerce deal talks between the UK and the EU.
The two sides are attempting to safe a deal earlier than the top of the transition interval on 31 December, which can see the UK going onto generic World Trade Organisation guidelines if no settlement is reached.