LONDON (Reuters) – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson plans to defy international law with legislation that breaches parts of the Brexit divorce treaty with the European Union, facing a vote in parliament on Monday within his party Amid growing opposition.
The House of Commons will debate the internal market bill, which the European Union has called for by the end of September to remove Johnson from the latest brittleness of the four-year saga as Britain narrowly voted to leave the bloc.
After the debate, in a late-coming vote, lawmakers will vote to decide if the bill should move to the next stage.
Johnson’s plan to explicitly break international law has put Brexit in crisis in the UK less than four months before it is due to finally leave the EU orbit at the end of a transition period.
The European Union has intensified preparations for a no-deal Brexit, which would be chaotic for about $ 1 trillion in trade, markets and annual trade.
The government has rejected an ultimatum from Brussels to scrap key parts of the bill by the end of this month.
Johnson, who has a majority of 80 in the lower house of parliament, faces a growing rebellion of some of his own MPs. All the former Prime Ministers of Britain who are still alive have expressed concern about his plan.
Johnson’s former Attorney General Geoffrey Cox said in The Times newspaper, “When the Queen’s ministers make their case, they should be independent that they will do it, even if the results are inconsistent.”
Cox, who was sacked by Johnson in February, said, “No British minister should be fully to abide by treaty obligations with his fingers.”
The pound fell 3% last week on fears of a no-deal Brexit, but Goldman Sachs said the likelihood of such a scenario was actually lower than in the market, so the current sterling levels could be attractive to some investors .
British ministers say the bill explicitly states that it may be inconsistent with a host of international laws aimed at clarifying ambiguities – particularly on Northern Ireland – and in the matter of security in trade negotiations Act as
Junior interior minister Kit Malthus said, “Having an insurance policy makes me wiser.”
But some EU diplomats say they think London is playing a game of chicken, either wanting to negotiate or to leave without a deal to invite the collapse of trade negotiations.
Former prime ministers John Major, Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and Theresa May scolded Johnson for considering breaking the law, another ex-chief David Cameron also weighed.
“I have a misunderstanding of what is being proposed,” Cameron told reporters.
The European Union says it cannot trust those who break agreements and if the bill is not effectively lifted then there will be no trade deal covering everything from car parts to food. .
Thomas Brenn of Ireland’s European Affairs said, “Come back from the brink, reestablish faith and keep your word.”
If, as expected, it is passed in its second reading on Monday, the fine print of the bill will be debated for four more days – on Tuesday of next week.
After the vote on Monday, there will be further votes on attempts to change the wording and meaning of the law, and a final vote to decide whether it goes to the next stage. The most important vote is likely next week.
If the bill is passed by the lower house, it would undergo scrutiny in the House of Lords where opposition from Conservative members is expected to be even stronger.
Reporting by Gai Foulkenbridge, Kate Holton, Elizabeth Piper, William James and Michael Holden; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne