Brexit: Tony Blair and John Major urge MPs to reject the bill

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Tony Blair and Sir John Major have joined critics opposing the government’s proposed Internal Market Bill

Former Prime Ministers Tony Blair and Sir John Major rejected parts of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement from Parliament to reject Boris Johnson’s “shameful” attempt.

The PM has said that the European Union is threatening to impose customs duties in Irish Ireland, separating Northern Ireland from the rest of Britain.

Mr Blair and Sir John have accused the government of “embarrassing” the UK.

The Internal Market Bill will be debated in the Commons on Monday.

The bill would go against the withdrawal agreement signed by the UK and the EU.

It addresses the Northern Ireland Protocol – part of the Brexit withdrawal agreement designed to prevent a difficult border returning to the island of Ireland.

If the bill becomes law it will give UK ministers the right to modify or “disappear” the rules relating to the movement of goods between Britain and Northern Ireland, which will come into force from 1 January, if the UK and the EU are in a trade. Unable to cancel the deal.

Writing in The Sunday Times, Sir John and Mr Blair – former conservative and Labor prime ministers respectively – said the government’s actions were “irresponsible, wrong in principle and dangerous in practice”.

“It raises questions that are beyond negotiation for the impact on Ireland, the peace process and the trade deal – though they are important. It questions the integrity of our nation,” he said.

Former leaders said that honoring treaty obligations was “important” just like domestic law, and lawmakers called for a rejection of the law.

He said, “As the world looks on the agstst in the UK – the term that was ever accepted as an invasion – this action of the government is embarrassing itself and embarrassing our nation,” he said .


By Leela Nathu, Political Correspondent

Tony Blair and Sir John Major say Boris Johnson knew the full outcome of the Brexit divorce deal that he hit it with Brussels last year – that new barriers to trade would arise between Northern Ireland and the rest of Britain .

They say the government’s plan will now advance the Good Friday Agreement by eliminating parts of the deal, reducing Britain’s credibility in future trade deals and could prompt a damaging retaliation from the European Union.

They accuse ministers of embarrassing the UK, negotiating what they call “cavalry bombings as serious bombings” – an approach that they say calls into question the integrity of the nation.

However, his intervention is unlikely to affect Mr Johnson, who sees the Internal Market Bill a necessary safety net to protect the union and the peace process – and calls for the EU to withdraw the controversial clause before the end of the month Is rejected.

The Prime Minister appealed to the MPs to withdraw the law – their predecessors say that it is the job of Parliament to pursue its plan.

The PM on Friday urged Conservative MPs to return the bill during a zoom call following concerns about its proposals.

The European Union has warned Britain that it could face legal action if it does not catch the controversial elements of the Internal Market Bill by the end of the month.

While ministers have sought to protect the government’s plans, Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gov said the proposals were a tool to protect the “integrity” of the UK.

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Media captionMichael Gov: “What we can’t have … Is the EU disrupting or endangering the integrity of Britain”

And Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis considered that the bill would break international law, but “in a very specific and limited way”.

Meanwhile, Sir Keer Starr has accused the PM of “ruling the old lines” by working to override his own withdrawal agreement.

Writing in the Sunday Telegraph, the Labor leader said his party could withdraw the Internal Market Bill if the government “raised enough cross-party concerns”.

But to win Labour’s support, the bill would no longer have to risk violating international law and address the administered concerns of a “power grab”.

Sir Keir said, “We must be with defeating this virus, not about Europe.” “Go with Brexit and defeat the virus. This should be the government’s mantra.”

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