Amal Clooney Resigns As UK Special Envoy Over Government Plans To Break International Law

The human rights lawyer said it was "untenable" for her to urge other states to respect international obligations "while the UK declares that it does not intend to do so".

Human rights lawyer Amal Clooney has resigned as a UK special envoy over the government’s plans to break international law over Brexit.

Clooney – who was appointed as the UK’s special envoy on media freedoms in 2019 – said she was “dismayed” by Boris Johnson’s plans regarding the Internal Markets Bill.

In a letter to foreign secretary Dominic Raab, she said she was “disappointed” to have to resign, having “always been proud of the UK’s reputation as a
champion of the international legal order, and of the culture of fair play for which it is known”.

“However, very sadly, it has now become untenable for me, as Special Envoy, to urge other states to respect and enforce international obligations while the UK declares that it does not intend to do so itself.”

Her resignation follows plans by the government to introduce a law that would allow Johnson the power to override parts of the Brexit agreement with the EU.

Northern Ireland secretary Brandon Lewis admitted in the Commons earlier this month that the bill would break international law in a “specific and limited way”

In her letter to Raab, Clooney condemned government plans to do so, saying it was “lamentable for the UK to be speaking of its intention to violate an international treaty signed by the prime minister less than a year ago”.

The barrister said she had been convinced to resign having spoken to government officials and having received “no assurance that any change of position is imminent”.

Clooney is not the first person to resign over the controversial Internal Markets Bill.

Lord Keen of Elie QC, one of the PM’s most senior law officers, quit on Wednesday, saying in a letter to Johnson that he had found it “increasingly difficult to reconcile what I consider to be my obligations as a Law Officer with your policy intentions”.

Amal Clooney.
Amal Clooney.
Leon Neal via Getty Images

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