Britain has ‘right’ as sovereign nation to
change Brexit agreement, says TUAEU

This article on the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement and government proposals for a Single UK Market Bill, by Doug Nichols appeared in the Morning Star in Sept 2020. Given the current impasses around Britain's negitioations and trade agreements, it is worth another visit.


BRITAIN has the right to unilaterally change the terms of the EU-UK Withdrawal Agreement (WA) now that it is a sovereign nation, according to Trade Unionists Against the EU (TUAEU).

Labour and the SNP have joined some lawyers in protest against plans to override parts of the WA. The government’s most senior lawyer, Jonathan Jones, reportedly even quit over the move to modify the agreement.

Serious concerns were raised that the new Internal Markets Bill would break international law.

The Bill, published on Wednesday, would axe requirements for new customs arrangements in Northern Ireland and would end the WA’s legitimacy in areas such as state aid.

Northern Ireland is currently meant to adhere to some EU regulations after the transition period ends on December 31, in a bid to stop a “hard border” with the Republic.

The government said that the Bill is necessary to preserve peace in Ireland if a trade deal with the EU is not struck.

TUAEU secretary Doug Nichols said: “The right of sovereign nations to withdraw from any treaty that it deems to be against its national interest is enshrined in international law.






“Such action does not make them illegal or involve bad faith; they are merely a recognition of a changed situation.”

Mr Nichols said that the government was right to amend some of the terms as it was signed some eight months ago.

“In fact, it would have been a dereliction of its duty if it didn’t,” he added.

“After all, when [Prime Minister Boris] Johnson signed that Withdrawal Agreement, the UK was a member of the EU and, by definition, not sovereign.

“Once it left the EU and became independent it has the right — in fact, the duty — to revisit treaties that were signed when the nation lacked sovereignty, when the balance of forces favoured the ‘other side.’

“Unlike the Ten Commandments, international treaties are not written in stone.

“They are often amended or revoked, otherwise international relations will still be covered by treaties signed in the 17th or 18th centuries, if not before.

“It is always the case that when a country becomes independent through peaceful means or by force of revolution, it revisits and, more often, unilaterally withdraws from the treaties that the country had signed prior to independence.”