A win for Joe Biden in next week’s US presidential elections could force Boris Johnson to water down his Brexit bill.
Peers in the House of Lords are set to vote down six clauses in the internal market bill that would undermine Britain’s divorce deal with the EU during a vote on November 9, almost a week after the US presidential election which Biden, the democratic presidential candidate, is widely tipped to win.
A Biden win on November 3 could force the prime minister to water down his bill in order to strike a trade deal with America.
Biden has warned that Johnson’s UK internal market bill would undermine the Northern Ireland peace accord and that he would never sign a deal with the UK unless the controversial clauses were removed.
If peers reject the legislation in its current form, Johnson will face the dilemma of whether to commit to reinstating the controversial clauses when the bill returns to the House of Commons, and therefore risk a row with Biden if he wins the US election.
On October 20, peers voted 395 to 169 for a motion to regret the bill for “undermining the rule of law and damaging the reputation of the United Kingdom”.
The vote saw Tory former leader Michael Howard join forced with crossbench peers to reject the bill.
Johnson has claimed his bill will stop the EU from interpreting the Northern Ireland protocol, which was agreed to alongside the Withdrawal Agreement, in the “extreme” and would limited the bloc’s powers to determine state aid in Northern Ireland.
Last month, Biden said the bill would threaten an open border policy between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland agreed between the UK and Brussels.
He tweeted: “We can’t allow the Good Friday Agreement that brought peace to Northern Ireland to become a casualty of Brexit.”
Peers will attempt to remove the clauses at the bill’s committee stage.
Labour’s leader in the Lords, Angela Smith, said: “I would urge Downing Street to seek to resolve the issue. The wise approach would to be for them to remove the offending clauses, so peers can focus on scrutinising and improving the rest of the bill.”
The vote will take place during the final stages of Brexit trade negotiations, which have been scheduled to end in mid-November.