It's 'extraordinary' that the British government is admitting that it plans to break international law, a former Irish ambassador has said.
Bobby McDonagh has suggested the UK is now heading in the direction of being a 'rogue state'.
It comes after the Northern Ireland Secretary today acknowledged new Brexit legislation being put forward "does break international law... in a very specific and limited way".
Brandon Lewis insisted they're still determined to deliver on their commitments in the agreement.
The British government says changes are needed to ensure Northern Ireland isn't treated differently to Britain.
However, there are concerns it will change the Withdrawal Agreement - in particular measures to avoid a hard border.
It was also reported today that the top UK government lawyer has quit over the planned changes.
The Financial Times said Johnathan Jones was stepping down as he was 'very unhappy' about the plans to overwrite parts of the Northern Ireland protocol.
Mr McDonagh, former Irish ambassador to the UK and EU diplomat, said the latest developments are "shocking".
Speaking on The Hard Shoulder, he said: "That the UK would break international law is bad enough... but to admit that they're doing it is quite extraordinary.
"On the one hand, they're saying this is only a small little breach of the law... but on the other hand they're clearly briefing the British tabloids that the entire withdrawal agreement is going to be rewritten in a way that suits the British government.
"The key point - which shows how important it is - is that the head of the UK legal department... the senior lawyer in the British system... has resigned. He wouldn't do that unless the issue was of profound importance.
"To say that one is only breaching the law in a small way is like saying 'I'm going to rob a small bank instead of a large bank.'"
He said he has "great affection" for the UK and he would usually be "quite controlled in what I say", but argued that things are now "very, very serious" for the UK.
Mr McDonagh said EU negotiators now have to consider how to handle "this extraordinary situation" - although noted that the bloc's chief negotiator Michel Barnier has so far appeared to be "playing it very calmly".