Tory minister bizarrely rants about flags, Lenin and Corbyn when asked about Northern Ireland protocol

Tory minister bizarrely rants about flags, Lenin and Corbyn when asked about Northern Ireland protocol
Tory minister claims Emily Thornberry is 'embarrassed by our flag'

Suella Braverman, the government’s attorney general, launched a furious rant at the opposition frontbench on Thursday, when she was asked about guidance she had issued on the Northern Ireland protocol.

The protocol – an agreement between the UK and European Union to prevent a hard border on the island of Ireland - has been a source of contention for the UK government in recent months. Ministers have made several threats that they could override the protocol amid “problems” with the policy.

Asking a question about it in the Commons on Thursday, shadow attorney general Emily Thornberry asked: “The attorney general has said again today that there is a longstanding convention that prevents her discussing either the fact or the content of her legal advice on the Northern Ireland protocol, which makes it all the more remarkable that on Wednesday 11 May, The Times newspaper and BBC Newsnight not only disclosed the fact of her legal advice, but actually quoted from its contents.

“So, can I ask the attorney general one very straightforward question which only requires a yes or no answer: did she personally authorise the briefings to The Times and to Newsnight regarding her advice on the protocol? Yes, or no?”

If you missed it, The Times report referenced by Ms Thornberry stated that Ms Braverman had told the prime minister the protocol could be overruled legally because the EU’s implementation of it is “disproportionate and unreasonable”.

The attorney general replied: “I do not comment on media speculation, that is a firm position of the government. There are big differences here, between the right honourable lady and myself, and I am very disappointed at the line of attack that she is taking.

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“I love the United Kingdom; the right honourable lady is embarrassed by our flag. I’m proud of the leadership that the United Kingdom has demonstrated, and [Thornberry] wants us to be run by Brussels and wants to scrap Trident.

“My heroes are Churchill and Thatcher, hers are Lenin and Corbyn.”

The comments sparked audible outcry from MPs, and even deputy speaker Dame Eleanor Laing had to step in to remind speakers to “stick to the specific subject of the question”.

Then there’s the fact that Ms Braverman was likely referring to Ms Thornberry’s resignation in 2014, after she tweeted an “image from Rochester” showing three flags outside a house in the town – except that wasn’t the UK flag, but the English flag.

And Twitter users have despaired over the state of the Tory minister’s response:

We’re exhausted too, to be honest.

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