UK news NI secretary Lewis ‘telling porkies’ over claims about party talks on Brexit bill: Sinn Fein's O'Neill last news
MetiNews.Com - Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill has accused Secretary of State Brandon Lewis of “telling porkies” over the discussions he had with local parties on the introduction of the Internal Market Bill, which could see the UK break international law.
Breaking News ! "Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill has accused Secretary of State Brandon Lewis of “telling porkies” over the discussions he had with local parties on the introduction of the Internal Market Bill, which could see the UK break international law. However, asked for a response to the senior politician’s claim, a spokesman for the Northern Ireland Office said Mr Lewis “spoke to NI party leaders about UKIM ahead of the Bill’s introduction”.Mr Lewis was in front of the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee yesterday defending his recent comment that the Internal Market Bill would break international law in a “specific and limited way”.He told MPs his assertions were consistent with advice from the Government’s main legal adviser, Attorney General Suella Braverman QC.He said: “My answer was in line with the legal opinion given by the law officers. The position I took at the dispatch box is not a breach of the ministerial code but I am not the arbiter of that.”He added: “I gave a very straight answer to Parliament last week in line with the Attorney General’s position. My position is absolutely in line with the legal advice that the Attorney General put out.”Mr Lewis expanded on the circumstances of his comments during an urgent question on the Bill in Parliament.He said: “I read out something very specific because I wanted to ensure that what I said, to make sure that I was giving the House a straight answer.”He also said he spoke to the Northern Ireland parties about the Internal Market Bill. South Belfast MP Claire Hanna asked if he understood why people “can’t trust your government”. “And do you have any handle on the anxiety and the unease and the instability your government is creating every day in Northern Ireland, which is a fragile society?” she said.Mr Lewis said he disagreed with the question and the Internal Market Bill was a “safety net” to protect the interests of the UK and NI.He added: “I had discussions with various colleagues across government talking to our partners and friends in the EU which obviously the Irish Government is a part of.
.”Ms Hanna asked which parties he consulted and if they were aware of the bill. “In advance of that I had spoke to the leaders of all parties,” he said, adding he and his officials routinely spoke with the parties. Ms Hanna said “with confidence” the SDLP was not consulted on the specifics of the bill, although her party leader Colum Eastwood, in a tweet, clarified that he spoke with Mr Lewis the day before he made the extraordinary statement in the Commons revealing his Government’s intention to break international law. “At no point in that conversation did he mention breaking the law. He didn’t go into any detail at all. I didn’t see any detail on the bill until it was published,” Mr Eastwood tweeted. Mr Lewis’s remarks on talking with the parties drew swift online reaction.Michelle O’Neill tweeted to say the Secretary of State was “talking through his hat”.She added: “Brandon Lewis informed us of the bill, but did not consult us, which implies consent. I made my strong opposition clear. Not for the first time Mr Lewis is telling porkies."UUP leader Steve Aiken also took to social media on the matter saying his party was consulted."We said in the politest terms it was a deeply & massively flawed piece of legislation on par with the equally flawed NI Protocol & WA (which we were less polite about)," he said."
Source = MetiNews.Com