On 8th September 2020 in the House of Lords Government Minister Lord True responded to a question from the Opposition frontbench on the prospects for a Brexit trade deal in October, and the upholding of the Northern Ireland protocol in the withdrawal agreement should a deal not be agreed. The Bishop of Southwark, Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, asked a follow up question:
The Lord Bishop of Southwark: My Lords, given the concerns in the House about any attempt to derogate from an international treaty and the implications for the peace process in Northern Ireland, will the Minister confirm that the Government are aware that any attempt unilaterally to modify the terms of the withdrawal agreement will adversely affect the confidence of EU citizens resident here, and of British citizens resident in EU countries, in the United Kingdom’s commitments under the agreement, if treaty commitments may be set aside?
What can the Minister say to reassure both categories under these circumstances, other than to undertake to honour the treaty in full?
Lord True (Con): My Lords, perhaps I should declare an interest as a resident of another EU country. I do not feel that there is a wider spreading out from this. The British Government are determined to honour their obligations. We are proposing, as noble Lords will see—we will have a long opportunity to discuss this—to take a power to disapply the EU law concept of direct effect in a very specific and limited way. As for the peace agreement, I say to the right reverend Prelate that the peace agreement has an east-west aspect, as well as a north-south aspect.
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