Brexit: Boris Johnson says powers will ensure UK cannot be ‘demolished’

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Media legendBoris Johnson: “I have absolutely no desire to use these measures”

Boris Johnson said the UK must reserve the right to cancel the Brexit deal to protect the country’s “economic and political integrity”.

The Prime Minister said legislation was needed to resolve “tensions” in the EU-UK deal.

He said this would ensure that the UK cannot be ‘shattered’ by a foreign power and that the EU is acting ‘in an extreme way’, threatening food exports.

The Labor Party said the prime minister had caused “disorder” by renouncing an agreement he had previously called a “triumph”.

The home markets bill is expected to pass its first parliamentary test later, when MPs vote on it at 10 p.m. BST, despite reservations by many MPs that it gives the UK the power to violate international law.

A number of Conservative MPs have said they will not support the bill in its current form and some may express concern by abstaining.

The UK left the EU on January 31, after negotiating and signing the withdrawal agreement with the bloc.

A key part of the deal – which is now an international treaty – was the Northern Ireland Protocol, designed to prevent the return of a hard border to the island of Ireland.

The Government’s proposed Home Market Bill would override that part of this agreement as it relates to the movement of goods between NI and Great Britain and allow the United Kingdom to change or reinterpret the rules on ‘aid State ‘on grants to businesses in Northern Ireland, in case the two sides disagree on a future trade deal.

‘Protective powers’

Speaking at the start of the five-hour debate, the Prime Minister said the bill should be “welcomed by all” who care about “the sovereignty and integrity of the United Kingdom”.

He said the UK had signed the Withdrawal Agreement, including the Northern Ireland Protocol, in “good faith”, believing it would result in “light” regulations on trade in the UK.

He said the “protective powers” ​​in the bill were necessary to guard against the EU’s “proven will” to interpret aspects of the Withdrawal Agreement in an “absurd” manner that does not was never wanted.

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Media legendEd Miliband says this is not a leave versus staying argument, but “an argument between good and evil”.

“What we cannot tolerate now is a situation where our European counterparts seriously believe they have the power to dismantle our country,” he told MEPs.

“We cannot have a situation where the very borders of our country can be dictated by a foreign power or an international organization. ”

He also suggested that the EU was threatening not to allow UK companies to export animal products to the mainland or to Northern Ireland and “had not taken this gun off the table”.

However, he sought to reassure MPs that the UK would seek to resolve its differences with the EU with ‘common sense and goodwill’ and that MPs would have a vote before reserve powers were ever released. invoked.

“I have absolutely no desire to use these measures. It’s an insurance policy. “

‘Vandalism’

But former Labor leader Ed Miliband, who replaced Sir Keir Starmer after the Labor leader was forced to isolate himself at home, said the ‘very act of passing the law’ would violate international law .

He told MPs the Prime Minister ‘couldn’t blame anyone else’ for drafting and signing the Brexit deal himself.

“It’s his deal, it’s his mess, it’s his failure,” he said. “For the first time in his life, it’s time to take responsibility and confess,” he said. “Either he wasn’t up front with the country in the first place, or he didn’t get it. ”

He added: “This is not just legislative hooliganism on any issue, it is on the most sensitive issue of all. ”

Conservative MP Sir Bob Neill said the government must “exhaust” all avenues available under the existing deal to resolve disputes before taking a major step forward.

The government’s actions, he said, were “unnecessarily provocative” to the ongoing trade negotiations and “needlessly undermine our reputation for upholding the rule of law.”

And former Chancellor Sajid Javid joined the ranks of would-be rebels, saying he did not see why there was a need to “preemptively reverse” the withdrawal agreement signed with the EU.

“Breaking international law is never a step to be taken lightly,” he tweeted.

A senior government source told the BBC “all options are on the table” in terms of possible action against Conservative MPs who do not support the bill.

The legislation, which sets out how trade between different countries in the UK will work after the UK leaves the Single Market on January 1, is likely to encounter more difficulties in its later stages, especially in the House of Lords.

Ian Blackford of the SNP said the bill was the “biggest threat” to decentralized government in Scotland since the Scottish Parliament was established 20 years ago.

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Media legendDavid Cameron said he had “doubts about what is on offer”

“We are discussing the details of a bill that this government casually admits and blatantly violates international and domestic law, a bill that cynically uses the precious peace at the heart of the Good Friday deal as nothing more than ‘a bargaining chip on Brexit,’ he said. .

Five former prime ministers have raised concerns over the bill, including Boris Johnson’s predecessor Theresa May – who is absent from Monday’s debate while visiting South Korea.

Speaking earlier on Monday, David Cameron said that “passing an act of Parliament and then breaching an international treaty obligation … should be the absolute last resort.”

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