MPs vote to reinstate law-breaking clauses in Brexit bill

Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons, Londo

Prime minister Boris Johnson speaks during Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons, London. - Credit: PA

MPs have voted 357 to 268, a majority of 89, to reinsert a controversial section of the UK Internal Market Bill which enables ministers to breach international law over Brexit.

The House of Commons restored sections of the Bill removed by peers, as talks between the UK and EU continue in search of a deal on arrangements beyond December 31.

Business minister Paul Scully earlier said the government wanted to retain these clauses in their current form in the Bill until discussions with the EU “have successfully concluded”.

The government had said it would consider removing controversial clauses from the bill if the EU agrees to a deal.

Shadow international trade minister Bill Esterson told MPs that the UK had breached trust with the European Union ahead of the end of the transition period.

MORE: All 357 MPs who voted to reinstate law-breaking clauses in Brexit bill

He said: “What are we being asked to do this evening by the government? We’re being asked to break international law. Albeit in a limited and specific way, it’s still breaking international law.

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“It tears up a deal that was negotiated by this prime minister, that was put to the people of this country by this prime minister and that was voted on by every single member of the governing party earlier this year.

“And it isn’t just about breaking international law, this is a breach of trust with the same partners who we are now 24 days away from ending a transition period with, we desperately need to conclude a deal with.”

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The SNP’s Joanna Cherry said that even if the controversial clauses in the UK Internal Market Bill are removed “the damage is done”.

Cherry said: “First of all I want to say something about the reports that the government may yet agree to the removal of part five of this Bill.

“That is all very well and good, but the problem is that the damage is done.

“It is now known across Europe and internationally that this British government is prepared to break its word in an international treaty in order to get its own way.”

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