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Top UK gov’t lawyer resigns over plan to alter Brexit deal – Report

Jones is sixth senior UK government official to leave his position this year

The Head of the British Government’s legal department has resigned over Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s plan to override part of the EU withdrawal agreement with domestic legislation, the Financial Times reported on Tuesday.

Jonathan Jones was unhappy with the government’s decision to table a bill designed to override a provision in the agreement that allows different post-Brexit customs arrangement for Northern Ireland to the rest of the United Kingdom, the newspaper said.

It quoted unidentified officials as saying Jones’ resignation followed “months of tension” over Britain’s negotiations with the EU on post-Brexit trade and related legal issues.

This week, the UK House of Commons is planning to vote on the government’s new bill aimed at nullifying key parts of the withdrawal agreement with the EU.

The withdrawal agreement with the EU was signed by former Prime Minister Theresa May, which, in turn, hampers reaching a post-Brexit deal, set to be finalised by the end of this year.

If adopted, the provisions including agreements on state aid and Northern Ireland customs would be overridden.

The treasury solicitor was “very unhappy’’ about the decision to replace parts of the Northern Ireland protocol of the 2019 withdrawal agreement with new parts in the UK internal market bill, according to which the UK prime minister will be given powers to interpret the protocol.

The official’s formal departure is expected to be announced later on Tuesday, the newspaper reported, adding that the Cabinet Office refused to comment.

Jones has become the sixth senior UK government official to leave his position this year over growing tensions with the prime minister.

His resignation follows that of National Security Adviser, Mark Sedwill, Head of the Diplomatic Service at the UK Foreign Office, Simon McDonald, and Permanent Secretary at the Home Office, Philip Rutnam.

Others are Permanent Secretary for Justice Ministry, Richard Heaton, and Permanent Secretary of the Department for Education, Jonathan Slater. (Sputnik/NAN)

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