Amal Clooney ditches role as UK special envoy after ‘lamentable’ Brexit bill passes
Amal Clooney, the prominent human rights lawyer married to George Clooney, quit as the United Kingdom’s special envoy on media freedom over the passage of a “lamentable” Brexit bill.
Clooney made the momentous move due to the Internal Market Bill, which gives the British government the power to override parts of the UK’s Brexit agreement in the EU withdrawal agreement, and which some claim signals the government’s intention to breach international law and reneges on significant parts of the Brexit agreement.
“I have been dismayed to learn that the government intends to pass legislation — the internal market bill —which, if enacted, would, by the government’s own admission, ‘break international law,’” Clooney wrote in a letter to Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, first posted on the International Bar Association.
“I was also concerned to note the position taken by the government that although it is an ‘established principle of international law that a state is obliged to discharge its treaty obligations in good faith,’ the UK’s ‘parliament is sovereign as a matter of domestic law and can pass legislation which is in breach of the UK’s treaty obligations.’
“Although the government has suggested that the intended violation of international law is ‘specific and limited,’ it is lamentable for the UK to be speaking of its intention to violate an international treaty signed by the prime minister less than a year ago,” the letter continued.
Clooney resigned as she “received no assurance that any change of position is imminent, I have no alternative but to resign from my position,” adding: “I am disappointed to have to do so because I have always been proud of the UK’s reputation as a champion of the international legal order, and of the culture of fair play for which it is known. However, very sadly, it has now become untenable for me, as special envoy, to urge other states to respect and enforce international obligations while the UK declares that it does not intend to do so itself.”
Clooney’s resignation, seen as a direct rebuke to Boris Johnson’s government, is the latest in the uproar over the bill
This week Lord Richard Keen, the UK government’s law officer for Scotland, quit due to his opposition of the bill and last week, the government’s top legal counsel, Jonathan Jones, stepped down pre-publication.
“It is humiliating that the UK’s special envoy on media freedom has felt unable to continue in her role. This shows that by threatening to break international law instead of getting Brexit done as we were promised, the government is trashing the UK’s reputation around the world,” Labour party’s Chris Matheson, the shadow media minister, told the Guardian.
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