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- Sep 20, 2018
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ETA: The full story
ETA: The full story
News, analysis and comment from the Financial Times, the worldʼs leading global business publication
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Two officials with knowledge of the situation told the Financial Times that the Treasury solicitor and permanent secretary of the Government Legal Department was leaving his position due to a dispute with Downing Street over its plans to challenge parts of the Brexit withdrawal agreement.
Those close to Sir Jonathan said he was “very unhappy” about the decision to overwrite parts of the Northern Ireland protocol, part of the 2019 withdrawal agreement, with new powers in the UK internal market bill.
One person familiar with the events leading up to Sir Jonathan’s decision to resign said it had followed months of tension over the handling of the Brexit negotiations and legal disagreements with Suella Braverman, the attorney-general.
Ms Braverman was appointed last February after the previous attorney-general, Geoffrey Cox, was sacked by Boris Johnson for making what one insider described as “uncomfortable noises” about the importance of abiding by international law.
Sir Jonathan is understood to have been dissatisfied with Ms Braverman’s initial interpretation of the legal implications of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit, and requested official advice from the government law officers — Ms Braverman, solicitor general Michael Ellis and the secretary of state for justice, Robert Buckland.
Two people familiar with the discussions said questions were raised over whether government plans to override the Brexit withdrawal agreement were in breach of the ministerial code that obliges ministers to follow the law, including international law.