Amal Clooney quits as UK special envoy over ‘lamentable’ Brexit plan

Human rights lawyer Amal Clooney said she is quitting her role as the UK’s special envoy over her opposition to the British government’s suggestion it could break international law in the event it fails to agree on a trade deal with the European Union.

Clooney, who is the country’s special envoy on media freedom, dubbed the move “lamentable”.

In a letter to British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab on Friday, the lawyer said she was “dismayed” to learn that the government intends to pass legislation that would effectively override sections of the Brexit withdrawal agreement that Prime Minister Boris Johnson himself negotiated.

“Although the government has suggested that the violation of international law would be ‘specific and limited’, it is lamentable for the U.K. to be speaking of its intention to violate an international treaty signed by the Prime Minister less than a year ago,” she said in the letter.

The Internal Market Bill, which is currently being debated by British lawmakers, has led to a furious outcry within the EU as it would diminish the bloc’s previously-agreed oversight of trade between mainland Britain and Northern Ireland if a UK-EU trade agreement isn’t secured.

Clooney becomes the latest lawyer to resign over the planned legislation.

Lord Keen, the UK government’s law officer for Scotland, has also resigned due to the Internal Market Bill, saying he “found it increasingly difficult to reconcile” his obligations as a lawyer with provisions in the legislation.

Clooney said she had accepted the role of special envoy in April 2019 because she believed “in the importance of the cause, and appreciates the significant role that the U.K. has played and can continue to play in promoting the international legal order.”

She said that after speaking to Raab about her concerns she had “received no assurance that any change of position is imminent,” which left her “no alternative but to resign.”

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