PM on track for Lords Brexit defeat TODAY over controversial markets bill

PM on track for Lords Brexit defeat TODAY over controversial markets bill

November 15, 2020

BORIS Johnson is on track for a Brexit defeat in the House of Lords TODAY over the controversial internal markets bill.

Peers will vote on the legislation, which ministers have said breaks international law, by overriding critical clauses in the agreement already hashed out between the PM and the EU.

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The House of Lords is expected to vote this evening to scrap parts of the new Brexit laws, which seek to overwrite elements of the Withdrawal Agreement designed to avoid a hard border with Ireland.

Earlier this year, Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis admitted the new rules break international law in a "very specific and limited way".

It means the UK would openly break the rules laid out in the Withdrawal Agreement inked last year.

And No10 has defended their position, saying it is only a "safety net" to protect the integrity of the UK in case of a no deal Brexit.

If Mr Johnson is defeated in the Lords, ministers will get a chance to reinsert the clauses in the Commons.

The PM is currently trying to shore up his relationship with US President-elect Joe Biden, who has been an outspoken critic of the measures.

When pressed on whether the Government would push ahead and put the measures back in, Environment Secretary George Eustice said "we will".

He accused critics of not understanding the possible of the new law, repeating Downing Streets insistence that they will only come into force if European leaders refuse to agree a final deal.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4, Mr Eustice said: "We are putting in place the facilities that will be needed to check agri-food goods as they enter and we're developing the customs procedures that will be needed for goods at risk of entering the EU.

"All of that work is being done and because that work is being done there will be no need for checks on the Northern Ireland border."

He also insisted the Government is "committed to the spirit of the Withdrawal Agreement".

Even Brexit backing peers Lord Howard and Lord Lamont balked at the measures.

Ex-Chancellor Lord Lamont said Downing Street was in a "terrible mess" over the plan.

Even Brexit backing peers Lord Howard and Lord Lamont balked at the measures last night.

The Former Chancellor Lord Lamont said Downing Street was in a “terrible mess” over the plan.

He said: “I think the Government will have to think again. I don’t think this is going to get through the Lords in its present form.

“I think the Government had an arguable case but that case was destroyed the moment Brandon Lewis said the means the Government were going to use to change the Northern Ireland protocol was against international law.

“That is impossible to defend.”

It comes as UK chief negotiator David Frost is set to meet with his EU counterpart Michel Barnier in London today.

Mr Johnson has pushed ahead with talks with the bloc despite previously setting deadline of October 15.

Mr Barnier said there were three "keys to unlock a deal" – respecting sovereignty of both the UK and the EU, free and fair trade across borders, and access to British fishing waters and other markets.

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