SO, this was the week that Boris Johnson finally admitted his oven-ready Brexit deal was nothing of the sort.

Except he didn’t. He was probably too busy celebrating the news that the Metropolitan Police aren’t taking any further action against him for his law-breaking Covid parties.

Instead, he sent future leadership contender and Foreign Secretary Liz Truss to tell us that the wholly foreseeable issues caused by the Northern Ireland protocol would justify the UK unilaterally rewriting it.

Perhaps he thinks he will get off as lightly with this as he has with his Covid law-breaking. I doubt it. All the signs are that the international community will be less forgiving than the Met.

It’s been reported that the Attorney General, Suella Braverman, has provided legal advice justifying the proposed course of action.

I have no doubt that it will be based on the views on parliamentary sovereignty and the supremacy of domestic law, which she favoured us with the last time the Tories were planning on breaking international law.

The Tory MP and anti-EU veteran Sir William Cash invited us to ignore “siren voices” who might disagree with Suella’s Ladybird guide to international law. But the difficulty for the Foreign Secretary, the Attorney General and the Honourable Member for Stone is that the siren voices to the contrary include the United Kingdom Supreme Court.

During the Brexit litigation, in the case which Gina Miller brought to ensure the UK Government would not trigger Article 50 without an Act of Parliament, the Supreme Court made it quite clear that international treaties signed by the UK Government are binding on the UK in terms of international law and that our obligations under them cannot be unilaterally rewritten by domestic law. This is a pretty fundamental tenet of international law. When I put this to Liz Truss she did not engage and simply repeated her mantra that the UK Government “fully respect(s) the rule of law, and we are very clear that this bill is in line with international law”. This was greeted with loud laughter.

She has promised that the Government will “very shortly” publish a legal statement on their plans. I cannot wait to see what mince she comes up with. My information is that her Tory lawyer colleagues are less enthusiastic in their anticipation.

Concerns about further UK Government law-breaking this week were not confined to their plans for a bill on the protocol.

On Tuesday the UK Government published The Northern Ireland Troubles (Legacy and Reconciliation) Bill. This bill will see immunity from prosecution granted to those who co-operate with a new body which will investigate atrocities from the Troubles era. British veterans have welcomed it, but victims’ groups have not, which pretty much tells all you need to know.

Victims advocate Raymond McCord, a protestant, whose son was murdered by loyalist gunmen, says he is reconciled with the nationalist community – he doesn’t need reconciliation but justice. Some people have compared what is proposed with the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission but that was a court-like restorative justice process that took place straight after apartheid ended and in public, not in private 25 years after the peace was brokered. This looks more like a cover up.

Shortly after the bill’s publication, in my capacity as deputy chair of the Joint Committee on Human Rights, I met with the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission to discuss their current concerns. They are on record as having noted that any legacy-related legislation which halts existing inquests and civil actions risks breaching the obligation to hold effective investigations pursuant to Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Victims’ groups will likely mount a legal challenge. They believe that criminal justice processes should be allowed to take their course. They have not failed, it’s just that they have not been allowed to progress properly. We need proper legal processes to get to the truth. Otherwise, people are afraid to come forward.

The bill will also have implications for Scotland. The legislative consent motion process will be triggered by provisions relating to the limitation of civil proceedings, criminal proceedings and inquests; the release of prisoners; the establishment of an Independent Commission for Reconciliation and Information Recovery and its reviewing and reporting functions in Scotland.

So, the bill could make significant inroads into the administration of justice in Scotland as well as breaching our human rights law.

The bill will also require the legislative consent of the Stormont Assembly which won’t be possible for so long as the Unionists frustrate its ability to get up and running.

In Northern Ireland, the DUP who lost the recent election and who won fewer than a third of the seats at Stormont are holding hostage the majority who want a functioning assembly and who never voted for Brexit. Time and events may soon overtake them.

THIS week SNP MPs met with Sinn Fein parliamentarians as well as high-profile Fianna Gael TD Neale Richmond to discuss all these issues. Some of us went on to attend an event about Ireland’s future which included contributions from the very impressive Sinn Fein MP John Finucane (his father was a victim of a Troubles atrocity which we have yet to get to the bottom of), Mr Richmond and representatives of the SDLP and the Alliance parties. Ian Blackford also spoke.

The Ireland’s Future event made it clear that Brexit has proved to be a huge catalyst for constitutional change in Ireland. There is a shared consensus that a referendum on Irish reunification is coming.

Sinn Fein say the preparation for a united Ireland should start now and they want the Irish government to publish a discussion paper as a prelude to a Citizens’ Assembly which will examine the issue of constitutional change on the island of Ireland and map a way forward by identifying the public policy priorities and political frameworks to enable the transition towards a new Irish national democracy.

Neale Richmond would prefer that the Dublin government set up a committee on Irish unity to look at the challenges and opportunities that might emerge from reunification.

He said it would need to address such issues as integrated education and healthcare free at the point of delivery.

In so far as these politicians share a goal it is to have the arguments needed to bring people along ready before a border poll is called.

They reminded us that Brexit has shown us that preparation and planning for the aftermath of a major vote for constitutional change is vital. While one must always be cautious in drawing parallels between the very different situations of Ireland and Scotland, this is a lesson which I think we can all agree equally applies in Scotland.