It seems almost certain that the government will announce legislation to abandon the Brexit Northern Ireland protocol in the next few days.
No coherent lawyer I have yet noted has suggested that this is anything but a breach of international law.
The Attorney General has suggested parliament is supreme in the UK and can as a result legislate as it wishes, which rather misses the point, which is that this is about international and not domestic law. I am not also sure that I agree that parliament can legislate to break law.
Standing a little back from Tory self-interest, which I very much doubt the Attorney General did, this move is almost impossible to justify. There are three reasons.
The first is that it was not any old government that signed this Protocol. It was Boris Johnson’s that did so as part of its “oven-ready” Brexit. There is no one else to blame but themselves if this deal is wrong. No-one, whatever they might now claim, forced them to do so. And the deal was face up on the table. They are breaking their own law.
Second, the UK’s reputation will be shredded even further, as a result. This will not just be in the EU. Washington will be livid about this.
Third, there will be a trade war, which will be incredibly one-sided. The UK now has no effective border checks with the EU. Anything, including all smuggled goods, are waved through ports and no duties are paid, even if owed, if the importer decides not to make a declaration. But the EU, unlike us, got its Brexit ducks in a row and has effective border controls. As a result it can impose sanctions on the UK, and no doubt will.
This is the last thing we need in the UK as recession bites. Our economy can only be hit harder still by the cost this will impose on exporters, when these are already down and under grave pressure.
And then there is the cost in Ireland.
How did we end up with these bandits in charge?