Geoffrey Cox offers Boris Brexit lifeline amid threat to thwart plan in Commons showdown

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Former attorney general Geoffrey Cox claimed that he could not currently support Boris Johnson’s Brexit Bill. While speaking on Times Radio, Mr Cox insisted there were legal ways to challenge the EU if the UK believes the bloc has not been negotiating in good faith. He noted that he felt it was wrong to unilaterally make changes to the withdrawal agreement and warned of the consequences.

Mr Cox said: “I think the fundamental problem at the moment is that it is not clear the circumstances in which the powers taken by the Bill would be used.

“The Government thus far has not given any definition to those circumstances.

“If the powers are to be used simply to nullify the foreseeable and ordinary consequences of an agreement we signed, that to me is to go back on an agreement that the British Government signed solemnly and Parliament ratified.

“I think it is wrong that the British Government should renege on an agreement we gave our solemn word.”

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After voicing his objections to the changes being proposed in the Brexit Bill, Mr Cox insisted the Government should still take some form of action.

He noted that if it is to be believed the EU have not negotiated in good faith, there are legal ways the UK can hit back at the bloc.

The Times Radio host, Stig Abell said: “Mr Cox you think there are lawful ways for the Government to deal with the concerns?”

Mr Cox replied: “The withdrawal agreement provides mechanisms by which the other party’s breach of the duty of good faith.

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“I am not saying the EU has but those are the reports, but in Government, there does seem to be a very strong conviction.

“A strong conviction that reckless and thoroughly disreputable statements have been made in the context of the negotiations to the Northern Ireland protocol.

“Now if that is right and that represents a serious intention, which is a big if, then I think the Government is within its rights to take lawful steps to challenge them and bring them to more reasonable behaviour.

“But what you cannot do, and I think it is wrong, is to abandon an agreement, rewrite it unilaterally, for an agreement you signed only nine months ago.”

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EU chief negoatiator Michel Barnier has also argued that this bill has the potential to “seriously damage” trust between the UK and EU in the talks.

The new Bill will have a second reading in the House of Commons this week. 

Both Remainers and Brexiteers have voiced their objections to the Bill, putting significant pressure on Boris Johnson and his Cabinet.

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