Ed Miliband tears into Boris Johnson over Northern Ireland and Brexit

15 Septembre, 2020, 20:21 | Auteur: Auguste Feret
  • Johnson who has a majority of 80 in the lower house of parliament is facing a growing rebellion from lawmakers in his Conservative Party. — Reuters

The government welcomed the Commons vote to give the UK Internal Market Bill a second reading, saying that it was now critical that the legislation completed its passage through Parliament by the end of the year.

Johnson accuses the European Union of threatening to use the withdrawal treaty agreed in January to put up trade barriers between mainland Britain and Northern Ireland, and even to impose a food blockade, the latest brinkmanship of a four-year saga since Britain voted narrowly to leave the bloc.

However, although the Johnson government wants to fast-track the law so that it can be on the statute in the event that an EU-UK trade pact is not finalised before the end of 2020, it is likely to face difficulties in the House of Lords, where Conservative lawmakers are in a minority.

Johnson acknowledged on Monday that "some people will feel unease over the use of these powers - and I share that sentiment myself".

"That illusion must be decently despatched".

In Brussels, EU officials rejected the UK PM's claims that the move was needed because the bloc had refused to take a "revolver off the table" in ongoing trade talks.

Johnson put a temporary halt to the deadlock by sealing a divorce deal with Brussels late previous year, which he used to win a thumping 80-seat victory in a December general election.

Last week the European Commission gave Johnson until the end of September to withdraw the bill and threatened to take legal action against the United Kingdom, with Commission Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič describing the bill as an "extremely serious violation" of the Withdrawal Agreement which had "seriously damaged trust between the EU and the UK". That was agreed through the Northern Ireland protocol that could have resulted in an effective border down the Irish Sea if a trade deal was not reached.

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A key part of the agreement on trade is the Northern Ireland protocol created to prevent a hard border returning to the island of Ireland.

Ed Miliband stood in for Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer who is self-isolating after a member of his family developed Covid symptoms.

"This is his deal". This is his deal, it's his mess, it's his failure. "For the first time in his life, it's time to take responsibility", he said.

Boris Johnson's controversial plan to override key elements of the Brexit deal he signed with Brussels has cleared its first Commons hurdle despite deep misgivings by some senior Tories.

All of Britain's living former prime ministers - John Major, Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, David Cameron and Theresa May - have also warned Johnson against breaking worldwide law.

He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "The proposition that we should march through the lobby as lawmakers and say that we are going to ignore and disavow a law that we have passed, to do with the rule of law - that is completely unacceptable".

The EU says Johnson's bill would kill trade talks, while former United Kingdom leaders have warned that it breaks global law and is a step too far, which undermines the country's image. On Monday, Rehman Chisti, MP for Gillingham and Rainham, resigned as a government special envoy on what he called "a matter of principle".

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