Brexiteer says MPs who vote against Boris Johnson’s Brexit bill ‘do not care about Northern Ireland’

Kate Hoey appears on BBC News. Photograph: BBC.

Kate Hoey appears on BBC News. Photograph: BBC. - Credit: Archant

A Brexiteer peer has claimed MPs who vote against Boris Johnson's Brexit bill do not really care about the fate of Northern Ireland, sidestepping questions over the legality of the prime minister's legislation.

Kate Hoey, a former Labour MP and politician from Northern Ireland, said those who voted against Johnson's latest bill were violating the Withdrawal Agreement.

Speaking with Mike Graham on talkRADIO, Hoey claimed the bill took a 'proportionate view' of how the EU has been behaved during the latest rounds of negotiations.

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'They have just not acted in good faith and it's clear that the little committee [EU-UK Joint Committee] that was set up to look at the protocol has not been working properly,' she lamented.

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Touching on reports a group of 30 Tory MPs plan to rebel against the government's legislation, including former Tory attorney general Dominic Grieve, she said: 'It's the same old people coming out with the same old views trying to do anything to criticise the government.'

She continued: 'I don't accept the Good Friday Agreement has anything to do with this, actually. But if you accept that it's somehow going to threaten the peace process by having a border down the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland then that's breaking the Good Friday Agreement.

'Why is it then not breaking the Good Friday Agreement to have a border down the Irish Sea?

'It just seems to me that any MP tonight who actually votes against this bill is really saying quite straight-forwardly that they do not want Northern Ireland, that they do not care about Northern Ireland being in the union and that they would prefer to put their faith in the European Union and all the kinds of maverick people in there.

'Tonight will test MPs as to whether they are genuinely, genuinely for the United Kingdom or whether they are simply wanting to be part of some kind of unelected, federal state of the European Union because that's what they're really saying tonight if they vote against this bill.'

Hoey's comments come as the government's internal market bill - which aims to give ministers the power to unilaterally interpret the Withdrawal Agreement - is set for a second reading in parliament Monday evening.

MORE: Tory former minister says Boris Johnson's Brexit bill 'arguably isn't a violation of international law'

The bill has caused a political firestorm for the government which insists the new measures, which override key aspects of the Withdrawal Agreement, are necessary to stop a carve-up of the United Kingdom.

In a Telegraph piece this weekend, Johnson said the previsions were being included after the EU reportedly threatened to leave Britain off the list of third party countries, effectively making it illegal to ship food into Northern Ireland from mainland Britain.

Michel Barnier, the EU's lead negotiator, dismissed the claims and called on Boris Johnson to 'stick to the facts'.

In a serious of tweets over the weekend, he said: 'Protocol on IE/NI is not a threat to the integrity of the UK. We agreed this delicate compromise with @BorisJohnson & his gov in order to protect peace & stability on island of Ireland. We could not have been clearer about the consequences of #Brexit,' he tweeted on Sunday.

'Sticking to facts is also essential. A case in point: the EU is not refusing to list the UK as a third country for food imports (SPS). To be listed, we need to know in full what a country's rules are, incl. for imports. The same objective process applies to all listed countries.'

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