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16 September 2020
Lord Keen offers resignation to Prime Minister

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Lord Keen offers resignation to Prime Minister

The UK Government’s top law officer for Scotland, Lord Keen, has offered his resignation to the Prime Minister.

The Advocate General for Scotland, who is a Conservative peer, is understood to have done so over concerns about the legality of aspects of the UK Internal Market Bill.

Boris Johnson said: "conversations on the matter are continuing".

It comes after Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis said the new bill to amend the UK's Brexit deal with the EU will "break international law".

Opposition parties had been calling on Keen to resign after the government’s most senior law adviser, Sir Jonathan Jones, resigned over the bill last week.

Keen told the Press and Journal newspaper on Wednesday: “I tendered my resignation to the prime minister first thing this morning, I’ve not yet heard back from the prime minister.”

The UK Internal Market Bill was introduced to parliament last week and has been surrounded with controversy over the government’s admission that aspects of it break international law.

The bill, which deals with how goods and standards will be regulated after the UK leaves the EU’s Common Market, contains sections which would potentially override aspects the previously agreed UK Withdrawal Agreement relating to trade and Northern Ireland.

Joanna Cherry, the SNP’s justice spokesperson at Westminster, who had called on Keen to stand down, tweeted on Wednesday afternoon: “imagine the UK Government will find it hard to find any member of the Scottish Bar to replace Lord Keen as Advocate General for as long as the Tories are intent on breaking international law”.

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