'I have absolutely no desire to use these measures'

  • 'I have absolutely no desire to use these measures'

'I have absolutely no desire to use these measures'

MPs voted in favour of a second reading of the Internal Markets Bill by a majority of 77.

Johnson put forward the bill in Monday's debate with the claim that the EU was trying to force the United Kingdom to accept certain regulations and that the European bloc had threatened to use "an extreme interpretation" of the withdrawal agreement in order to do so.

Although MPs on Monday defeated a Labour attempt to try to kill the bill, amendments have already been proposed for debate during four days of detailed scrutiny starting Tuesday. It would also overturn state aid rules in Northern Ireland.

However, Mr Johnson argued this was an unacceptable infringement of the UK's sovereignty and introduced new legislation, the Internal Market Bill, to override it.

Critics, who include several Conservative MPs, have warned it risks damaging the United Kingdom by breaching worldwide law, but government ministers claim it is vital to provide safeguards to Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom if future trade deals post-Brexit break down. The Democratic Unionist party, which opposed the Withdrawal Agreement because of the inclusion of the Northern Ireland protocol, also backed the government.

Johnson claims the European Union has threatened to use "an extreme interpretation" of the withdrawal agreement to "blockade" food shipments from the rest of the U.K.to Northern Ireland unless Britain agrees to accept European Union regulations.

Speaking to reporters on Monday morning, Mr Cameron said: "Passing an act of parliament and then going on to break an global treaty obligation is the very, very last thing you should contemplate".

Earlier, Mr Johnson's former attorney general Geoffrey Cox came out against the bill, accusing Mr Johnson of doing "unconscionable" damage to Britain's global reputation. "I believe the United Kingdom's word is its bond and I think this is damaging our worldwide reputation for honesty and straight-dealing", Sir Roger said.

"I took a view that you fight this tooth and nail at every step". Others have quite clearly decided they want to hold their fire for Bob Neill's amendment. "There is much to play for yet", he told BBC2's Newsnight.

The big challenge for the negotiating teams is to resolve issues that "make this legislation irrelevant" in a bid to secure a deal that is acceptable to all parties, Mr Coveney said speaking on his way into a Cabinet meeting.

"We're committed to making a success of those negotiations".

He claimed the Northern Ireland Secretary had "answered the wrong question" when speaking to MPs (see video below), and "as a effect the whole matter has been taken out of context".

For Labour, shadow business secretary Ed Miliband - standing in for Sir Keir Starmer who is in coronavirus self-isolation - said Mr Johnson had only himself to blame for signing up to the Withdrawal Agreement.

"Either he wasn't straight with the country about the deal in the first place or he didn't understand it".

"Because a competent government would never have entered into a binding agreement with provisions it could not live with".

Neither Javid nor Cox immediately made clear whether they will vote for an opposition motion to block the bill this evening, or simply abstain from the vote to give it a second reading in the Commons.

As the Government's internal markets bill passed the first vote in the Commons last night, James O'Brien branded the news an "astonishing U-turn".

"Mr Mitchell said he backed large parts of the Bill, but would not back it unless it was amended, but ". deliberately voting to breach global law is something which I can not do.

"The passing of this bill does not constitute the exercise of these powers".