Justice Secretary Robert Buckland today repeatedly dodged questions over whether he will resign if the Government goes ahead with its plans to break international law over Brexit.
Mr Buckland, who as Lord Chancellor has taken an oath to protect the rule of law, said Boris Johnson's proposals to tear up parts of the EU divorce deal were just an 'insurance policy'.
He said 'this isn't something that we actually want to have to use' but that as a 'responsible government' action must be taken just in case Brussels and Britain cannot agree on crunch issues contained within the Withdrawal Agreement.
Ministers have admitted Mr Johnson's plans will breach international law if they are implemented but when asked directly if he would resign over the issue, Mr Buckland said: 'It is not a question about me or my position.'
Mr Buckland later said he would quit if the rule of law is 'broken in a way that I find unacceptable' - a caveated response which is likely to cause controversy among the Government's critics.
The EU has given Mr Johnson until the end of the month to withdraw his plans or face legal action, with trade talks also expected to collapse if the PM does not perform a U-turn.
But the Government has insisted it has no intention of backing town, putting Britain and the bloc on a collision course.
Justice Secretary Robert Buckland today refused to say whether he will resign if the Government goes ahead with plans to break international law over Brexit
The latest row with the EU was sparked by the publication of the Government's UK Internal Market Bill.
The legislation, which the Government is hoping to crash through the House of Commons in the next two weeks, will enable the UK to unilaterally make decisions on key issues, like customs arrangements between mainland Britain and Northern Ireland, contained within the Withdrawal Agreement.
Brussels is adamant that the decisions must be made by a joint committee made up of people from both sides.
Asked why any country should trust the UK if it is prepared to row back on an accord it agreed less than a year ago, Mr Buckland said the hope is that the offending measures will never have to be used.
He told Sky News: 'What we are doing is making sure that if the joint committee negotiations about the [Northern Ireland] protocol fail, and there is still a way to go when it comes to that, we have an insurance policy here in the UK to make sure that any conflicts, any disagreements