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Lords’ fury at Boris Johnson’s Brexit bill sparks fears Upper House may rebel against plan
September 10, 2020
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Boris Johnson’s attempt to amend the already signed withdrawal agreement with the Internal Market Bill has begun to divide Parliament. Some Brexiteer Lords have argued attempting to pass a new bill changing key areas of the Brexit withdrawal agreement would risk ruining the UK’s reputation. US president hopeful, Joe Biden, has warned the UK not to violate the international treaty between Britain and the EU as this will put it at the “back of the queue” for trade talks.
Lord Howard of Lympne sparked fears there may be a rebellion against Boris Johnson in the House of Lords if he continues to push for amendments.
Lord Howard said: “Does my friend not understand the damage done to our reputation for probity and respect for the rule of law by those five words uttered by his ministerial colleague on Tuesday.
“Words that I never thought I would hear uttered by a British minister, far less a Conservative minister.
“How can we reproach Russia, China or Iran when their conduct falls below internationally acceptable standards.
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“This is when we have shown such scant regards for our treaty obligations.”
Journalist Robert Peston has also warned of a rebellion in the Lords against Mr Johnson’s plan as he argued peers may see it as a way to force the Prime Minister to honour the agreement.
Mr Peston said he had spoken to senior Tories who had expressed concern.
Mr Peston wrote in the Spectator: “A senior Tory pointed out that the Tory manifesto describes Boris Johnson’s renegotiated withdrawal agreement as a great deal and signed sealed and delivered.
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“So the lordships could rationally argue that by rejecting Johnson’s attempt to modify the withdrawal agreement, they would be compelling him to honour the promise he made to the electorate.”
He closed by writing: “There is going to be one almighty battle between the Government and the Lords.
“Who knows with what dramatic constitutional consequences.”
The EU has also warned Brexit trade talks may collapse if ministers push for plans to override the withdrawal agreement.
The European Commisions vice president Maros Sefcovic told his counterpart Michael Gove that if the Bill were to be adopted as it stands it would “constitute an extremely serious violation of the withdrawal agreement and of international law”.
He told Mr Gove by putting forward the legislation, the UK would be”seriously damaging trust between the EU and the UK”.
The vice president also threatened legal action, saying the Brexit divorce deal contained “a number of mechanisms and legal remedies to address violations of the legal obligations contained in the text.”