You may think the law is an ass, as Charles Dickens’s Mr Bumble declared it to be in Oliver Twist, but in the real world you are an ass to knowingly break it. You are all the more of an ass to break a law that you yourself had willingly helped create less than a year earlier.
The decision by Boris Johnson to introduce legislation that breaks the terms of the divorce deal reached with the European Union has been met with a mixture of fury and concern. Among the more measured responses have been the comments by Lord Butler, former head of the civil service, and General Sir Richard Barrons, former chief of Joint Forces Command.
Lord Butler’s view is that: “I think it is very difficult to justify breaking a recently agreed international agreement, the Northern Ireland Protocol – I think their argument is weak. You can say if they thought this was a contingency, they should have thought of it before they agreed the protocol.”
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