HUMAN RIGHTS advocate Amal Clooney has resigned from her role as a UK envoy for media freedom in protest at the government’s “lamentable” decision to breach its Brexit treaty.
Clooney became the third lawyer to part ways with Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government, after it introduced legislation that would rewrite its post-Brexit obligations to the European Union over Northern Ireland.
Johnson has maintained the bill was essential to counter “absurd” threats from Brussels, but it has prompted resignations and the threat of a rebellion by lawmakers, which appears to have been averted after a compromise was reached.
“It is 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,” said the prominent lawyer, who is married to actor George Clooney, in a letter to Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab.
“It threatens to embolden autocratic regimes that violate international law with devastating consequences all over the world.”
When appointed to the Foreign Office special envoy role in April last year, Clooney had said she welcomed the opportunity to build on her legal defence of persecuted journalists by working with the UK to champion a free press around the world.
“I accepted the role because I believe in the importance of the cause, and appreciate the significant role that the UK has played and can continue to play in promoting the international legal order,” she said in her resignation letter on Friday (18).
“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.”
After quelling one backbench revolt over the legislation and pressured to offer more clarity, the government on Thursday issued a document spelling out various scenarios in which the bill’s provisions would be executed.
But in what seemed to be an olive branch to Brussels, the document said the government would also seek to resolve post-Brexit disputes with the EU in “appropriate formal dispute settlement mechanisms”, not unilaterally.