NEW: Boris Johnson's former Attorney General Geoffrey Cox tonight reveals he will vote against the Internal Markets Bill in protest at the Government's plan to break international law - an act he calls "unconscionable". I have spoken to him. Full story on @TimesRadio now.
Geoffrey Cox insists the UK must uphold the Withdrawal Agreement, that he signed off as the PM’s most senior legal officer in October 2019. But he backs No10 / David Frost in their dispute with Michel Barnier over the NI Protocol, and believes the EU is now acting in bad faith.
Instead, Cox QC wants the Government to trigger the dispute resolution mechanism in the Withdrawal Agreement. Then, as an interim measure, HMG can act unilaterally and legislate to override the WA - but it will be done lawfully, he argues.
Cox has been in repeated contact with No10 and the PM, and spoke to Boris Johnson personally today to ask him to go down the dispute resolution route. The PM refused. Cox will abstain at 2nd reading and then vote against the bill at every other stage unless PM changes his mind.
Cox has also spoken to @patrickkmaguire tonight, and written for tomorrow’s @TheTimes. He writes: "No British minister should solemnly undertake to observe treaty obligations with his fingers crossed behind his back".
Cox continues: "We, the British Government and Parliament, have given our word. Our honour, our credibility, our self-respect and our future influence in the world all rest upon us keeping that word. Nothing less is worthy of Britain".
Here is @Geoffrey_Cox's article in full for tomorrow's @TheTimes;…

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More from @tnewtondunn

31 Aug
The PM owes the future king one, I hear. Boris Johnson had to ring Prince William personally last week to ask if he could pinch his man to be the new Cabinet Secretary. Highly rated Simon Case didn't apply for the job, and wanted to return to KP when his No10 secondment ended (1)
Instead, Boris appealed to Case to insist the country (and he) needed him, and asked the same of William. I'm also told William - who had hoped Case would get him to the throne one day as his long serving Private Secretary - took it "very well" and immediately agreed (2)
An ally of the prince says he is "taking one for the team", adding: "How can anyone not be supportive given the scale of the challenge coming". William and Boris have a good relationship going way back to their 2010 failed bid for England to host the World Cup. Which is handy (3)
Read 4 tweets
21 Jul
Westferry - a Sorry Affair. A thread follows on Robert Jenrick, Richard Desmond, Ben Elliot, and an (until now) secret apology (1)
"The case is closed” and Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has done no wrong, No10 declared defiantly last month over the Westferry property deal furore. Which doesn’t quite stack up with what’s being going on behind closed doors, @TimesRadio has learned (2)
In fact, the Conservative Party’s two co-chairmen Ben Elliot and Amanda Milling gave a grovelling apology to the party’s most senior committee of grandees over the messy donor scandal last week (3)
Read 17 tweets
26 Mar
Break: Rishi Sunak announces self-employed wages bail out: everyone who earned up to £50,000 on average over the last 3 year will be paid 80% of their earnings by the Govt, for three months.
Grants will be capped at a total of £2,500 per month (that's a £30k a year salary). 95% of all self-employed will be eligible, Sunak says.
The 5% not covered by the scheme have average income of "about £200,000 a year", Sunak says.
Read 5 tweets
13 Feb
Breaking: Sajid Javid has apparently resigned.
I'm told the PM insisted all his special advisers resign, and in those circumstances Javid refused to stay on as Chancellor.
And all this, 28 days before the Chancellor must deliver a Budget. Safe to say, Boris Johnson's honeymoon is over.
Read 4 tweets
2 Oct 19
Breaking: Boris Johnson lays out grand compromise over Ireland in bid to crack 11th hour Brexit deal:
* Northern Ireland follows Brussels rules on goods as well as food and livestock
* the people of NI must consent to it within nine months by June 2020…
The win for the UK is an independent UK-wide customs system so it can its do its own trade deals. Customs on the Irish border enforced by electronic paper trails and stand off checks. No new physical infrastructure needed anywhere 2/
Will it work? Dublin's agreement is all. Govt sources say discreet conversations with senior Irish politicians over the summer suggested they would bite, even on customs - but their calculations changed after the Benn Act was passed, and they're now retreating 3/
Read 4 tweets
26 Sep 19
Excl: Boris Johnson facing Cabinet revolt to lower his Brexit demands and cut a compromise deal with the EU…
I have spoken to three different Cabinet ministers, who are all preparing to confront PM after Tory conference next week. They will insist he accepts an 11th hour compromise offer instead that they expect EU to make. 2/
They will also demand he abandons Dominic Cummings’ “aggressive” strategy to bluff out the EU with the threat of No Deal. One of the Cabinet ministers: “The PM has to take what he can get now. The Cummings plan has clearly failed. We can’t fight battles on so many fronts”. 3/
Read 4 tweets

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