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LONDON (Reuters) - Scotland's top law adviser to the British government, Richard Keen, has offered his resignation to Prime Minister Boris Johnson over his plan to break international law by breaching parts of the Brexit divorce treaty, the BBC reported on Wednesday.

"@BBCScotlandNews understands Lord Keen, the advocate general, has found it increasingly difficult to reconcile govt plans to change EU exit deal with the law," BBC reporter Glenn Campbell said on Twitter.

He added that the resignation had yet to be accepted.

Keen has served as advocate general, a political appointment, since 2015.

Other senior members of Johnson's Conservative Party have also expressed opposition to the draft legislation unveiled last week, which the government acknowledges would violate international legal obligations and undercut parts of the divorce deal it signed before Britain formally left the European Union in January.

Brussels wants Johnson to scrap what is known as the Internal Market bill, saying it could sink talks on future trade arrangements before Britain leaves the EU's single market, which it has remained part of during a status quo transition period that expires at the end of this year.

Johnson has refused.

The Internal Market Bill is aimed at ensuring Britain's four constituent nations can trade freely with one another after leaving the EU, but the government says that requires overriding part of the withdrawal treaty it signed with Brussels.

(Reporting by Andy Bruce; editing by Guy Faulconbridge)

Copyright 2020 Thomson Reuters.

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UKs National Trust details historic sites links to slavery

LONDON (AP) — Britain’s National Trust, which looks after hundreds of the country’s well-loved historic sites, has detailed how dozens of its properties have links to slavery and colonialism.

A report published Tuesday by the heritage and conservation organization said 93 of its sites have connections with aspects of the global slave trade or Britain’s colonial history. Some of the places were “partly or largely funded by the proceeds of slavery,” the trust said.

The survey included sites linked to leading officials in the East India Company, the hugely powerful corporation instrumental to British imperialism and involved in the African slave trade during the 17th and 18th centuries.

The National Trust report also listed colonial writer Rudyard Kipling’s home in Sussex, southern England, and Chartwell, the family home of former Prime Minister Winston Churchill. Churchill led the administration of colonies and has been criticized for opposing Indian independence.

The trust said it commissioned the report as part of its commitment to ensure that Britain’s links to colonialism and historic slavery are “properly represented, shared and interpreted as part of a broader narrative.”

“The report we’ve published this month is not intended to make judgements about the past,” John Orna-Ornstein, the National Trust’s director of culture and engagement, said. “We’re presenting information based on research, allowing people to explore and draw conclusions for themselves.”

One example cited was Penrhyn Castle in Wales, whose owner used wealth he amassed from Jamaican plantations to invest in slate mines back home. As a lawmaker, Richard Pennant also used his political influence to advocate in favor of the continuation of the trade in African slaves.

The report came amid a wider reckoning of the dark side of colonialism and slavery in Britain and elsewhere around the world.

In June, Black Lives Matter protesters pulled down a controversial statue of 17th-century slave trade Edward Colson in the English city of Bristol and threw it into the harbor. Oxford University’s Oriel College recommended the same month removing a statue of Victorian imperialist Cecil Rhodes.


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