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UK bill will break international law 'in limited way', minister says

FILE PHOTO: Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Brandon Lewis arrives at John Hume's funeral at St Eugene's Cathedral in Londonderry, Northern Ireland August 5, 2020. REUTERS/Lorraine O'Sullivan

LONDON (Reuters) - Northern Ireland minister Brandon Lewis said on Tuesday that proposed legislation for Britain’s internal market, which newspaper reports say would undermine the Brexit divorce deal, would break international law “in a limited way”.

Asked if anything in the proposed legislation did or potentially did breach international legal obligations or arrangements, Lewis said: “Yes, this does break international law in a very specific and limited way.

“We are taking the powers to disapply the EU law concept of direct effect required by article 4 in a certain, very tightly defined circumstance.

“There are clear precedence for the UK and indeed other countries needing to consider their international obligations as circumstances change.”

He said that the government’s aim was to deliver on the Northern Ireland protocol which forms part of the Brexit withdrawal agreement through negotiations with the European Union.

“The clauses that will be in the bill tomorrow are specifically there for should that fail ensure that we are able to deliver on our commitments to the people of Northern Ireland,” he said.

Reporting by Michael Holden; editing by Stephen Addison/Guy Faulconbridge