Boris Johnson's Brexit plans put Britain on a 'slippery slope' towards dictatorship, warns former Supreme Court president
- Boris Johnson's Brexit plan risks pushing the UK down a 'very slippery slope' towards 'dictatorship' or 'tyranny' according to the former president of the UK's Supreme Court.
- Lord Neuberger criticised the government's Internal Market Bill, which ministers admit could breach international law.
- 'Once you deprive people of the right to go to court to challenge the government, you are in a dictatorship, you are in a tyranny,' Neuberger said on Wednesday.
- Other opponents of the bill include Michael Howard, the former home secretary, and Dominic Grieve, the former attorney general.
- Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
Boris Johnson's Brexit strategy risks pushing the UK towards "dictatorship" or "tyranny," the former head of the country's Supreme Court has warned.
Lord Neuberger, who was president of the UK's highest court between 2012 and 2017, said the government's highly controversial new Brexit legislation should be "defeated" in parliament because it would break international law and in some cases remove the right of courts to challenge legislation.
The Internal Market Bill, which passed its third reading in the House of Commons in September, sets out details about the movement of goods between the devolved nations after Brexit.
It has been heavily criticized by lawyers and judges because ministers have admitted that it would breach international law by allowing the government to rewrite parts of the legally binding Withdrawal Agreement that Boris Johnson struck with the EU in December.
Speaking at an online meeting of lawyers on Wednesday, Lord Neuberger said, in comments reported by the Independent: "It seems to me that this bill is quite extraordinary and is very worrying."
He said the bill contained provisions to "freely breach its obligations under international treaties" as well as making "regulations which it would appear the courts are not entitled to review."
"This country has a remarkable unbroken history of 350 years of observing the rule of law, and has an enviable reputation for that: it gives us authority abroad when we criticise other countries for breaking international law," Neuberger said.
"At home, one of the most important aspects of any democratic society is the right of individuals to go to court, to challenge the government when the government has done something wrong, when the government has breached the rights of individuals.
"Once you deprive individuals, people, of the right to go to court, to challenge the government, you are in a dictatorship, you are in a tyranny."
He added: "The rights of citizens to go to courts and protect their rights and ensure that the government complies with its legal obligations is fundamental to any system.
"The fact that this particular right is proposed to be taken away by legislation is a very fundamental problem. It is the beginning, it can be feared, of going down a very slippery slope."
The online meeting, organised by the International Bar Association, featured other opponents of the bill, including Dominic Grieve, a senior lawyer, former Attorney General, and former Conservative MP, the Guardian reported.
Grieve also warned that the Bill contained a provision which would prevent courts from challenging the government's actions, describing it as "an ouster clause which goes to the heart of parliamentary democracy."
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