Blair secretly pulls the strings: Labour Cabinet minister admits he’s advised by ex-PM
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In an interview today, Labour’s Shadow Home Secretary, Nick Thomas-Symonds admitted he speaks to Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. He revealed the two former Prime Minister’s are on hand to give advice to the party. His comments come ahead of the party’s annual conference which will be held digitally due to the coronavirus.
He told the Evening Standard: “I speak to both of them and they are both extremely ready to give advice.”
The two former Prime Minister’s have both spoken out against the Boris Johnson’s Internal Market Bill this week.
Last week, Mr Blair penned a joint piece in The Sunday Times with fellow former Prime Minister, Sir John Major.
In the piece, the two former party leaders called the new legislation an “irresponsible” act by the current Government.
The Bill infringes on elements within the withdrawal agreement which was agreed in October.
Crucially, the new legislation states only the Secretary of State has the authority to inform or notify the EU over state aid in Northern Ireland – despite what was agreed in the withdrawal agreement.
Some MPs within the Tory party have threatened to rebel against the Bill as it passes through the Commons.
The two former Prime Ministers said: “Yet what is being proposed now is shocking.
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“How can it be compatible with the codes of conduct that bind ministers, law officers and civil servants deliberately to break treaty obligations?
“As we negotiate new trade treaties, how do we salvage credibility as ‘global Britain’ if we so blatantly disregard our commitments the moment we sign them?
“If parliament passes this bill, the UK is bound to end up before the European Court of Justice which, under the Northern Ireland protocol, retains jurisdiction over EU rules.
“What if the UK loses? Do we defy the ruling?
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“What value our international word then?
“Has any of this been thought through?”
In order to stop a party rebellion, Mr Johnson granted MPs a vote on when to use the powers within the Internal Market Bill.
Mr Johnson held talks with the leader of the group and MP for Bromley and Chislehurst, Sir Bob Neil in order to stop the party rebellion.
Despite this concession, former Tory party leader, Lord Michael Howard claimed it is still not enough for it to be passed in the House of Lords.
He told the BBC: “The Government is still asking Parliament to break international law.
“I don’t know what my colleagues will do, but as far as I’m concerned this is a matter of principle.”
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