Former Tory leader Michael Howard has joined Sir John Major and Theresa May in launching a scathing attack on Boris Johnson’s controversial Brexit plans.
Proposals to unpick parts of the Brexit deal – a move which Cabinet Minister Brandon Lewis admitted broke international law – were called into question once again as pressure mounts on the Government.
In a furious attack, Lord Howard said: “Does [the minister] not understand the damage done to our reputation for probity and respect for the rule of law by those five words uttered by his ministerial colleague in another place on Tuesday – words that I never thought I would hear uttered by a British minister, far less a Conservative minister.
“How can we reproach Russia or China or Iran when their conduct falls below internationally accepted standards when we are showing such scant regard for our treaty obligations?”
The comments come after Sir John Major reacted angrily to Mr Johnson’s stance on international law.
“For generations, Britain’s word – solemnly given – has been accepted by friend and foe. Our signature on any treaty or agreement has been sacrosanct,” he said.
“Over the last century, as our military strength has dwindled, our word has retained its power. If we lose our reputation for honouring the promises we make, we will have lost something beyond price that may never be regained.”
Theresa May also flagged concerns in parliament, saying ministers were now seeking to change the operation of an agreement which the Government had signed up to and Parliament had passed into UK law.
“Given that, how can the Government reassure future international partners that the UK can be trusted to abide by the legal obligations of the agreements it signs?” she demanded.