BORIS Johnson’s crunch Brexit bill was passed last night – despite a Tory backlash.
The PM told MPs Brussels has a “revolver on the table” in trade talks, before he won a vote on his Brexit U-turn.
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Boris was hit by a backlash from senior Tories over his bid to rip up last year’s EU divorce Bill if Brussels tried to exploit Northern Ireland.
Former Chancellor Sajid Javid opposed the move and ex-PM David Cameron also broke cover to declare he had “misgivings” about the UK breaking a signed treaty.
But last night Mr Johnson won the first major Commons battle over his plan to breach international law in a “limited and specific way” with a majority of 77.
Welcoming the victory, a government spokesman said: “It will protect the territorial integrity of the UK and the peace in Northern Ireland.
“It is critical we pass this Bill before the end of the year.”
But Tory MP Sir Roger Gale voted against the Government as a “matter of principle”.
He said: “I believe very strongly we should obey international law.”
Earlier, the PM defended his “safety net” law.
It overwrites parts of his Brussels deal that could see the EU use Northern Ireland to exert control over the UK after Brexit.
He told MPs he “hoped the EU will take this revolver off the table” and added: “We cannot have a situation where the very boundaries of our country could be dictated by a foreign power or international organisation.”
Responding for Labour, Ed Miliband raged: “What incompetence. What failure of governance.”
Former PM David Cameron broke cover to declare he had “misgivings” about the UK breaking a signed treaty.
Whips had been braced for more than a dozen of his MPs threatening to abstain.
Earlier, the PM gave a heated defence of his “safety net” law that overwrites parts of his Brussels deal that could see the EU use Northern Ireland as a backdoor for control over the UK after Brexit.
Ahead of the vote on the Internal Markets Bill Mr Johnson again accused EU negotiators of going to “extreme and unreasonable lengths” over Northern Ireland.
And he blasted “absurd and self-defeating” threats to use an “extreme interpretation” of the divorce deal.
Mr Johnson said: “Our interlocutors on the other side are holding out the possibility of blockading food and agriculture transports within our own country.”
And he told MPs “the EU still have not taken this revolver off the table. I still hope that they will do so.”
“We cannot have a situation where the very boundaries of our country could be dictated by a foreign power or international organisation.
“No British Prime Minister, no Government, no Parliament could ever accept such an imposition.”
But Sajid Javid — who walked out of Mr Johnson’s Government in February — said he could support any move that breaks international law.
He was joined by a slew of party grandees including two former Attorney Generals Sir Jermey Wright and Geoffery Cox as well as other party grandees Andrew Mitchell and Sir Bob Neill.
And responding for Labour after Sir Keir Starmer was forced to isolate, Ed Miliband raged: “Is our country going to abide by the rule of law?”
Absurd and self-defeating as that action would be even as we debate this matter, the EU still have not taken this revolver off the table.
“A rules based international order for which we are famous around the world and have always stood up.
“These are not small questions, but go to the heart of who we are as a country and to the character of this government.”
Yesterday fellow Conservative MP Rehman Chishti resigned as the PM’s special envoy for Freedom of Religion or Belief in opposition to the bill.
Mr Chishti, a former barrister, said he had “real concerns about the UK breaking its legal commitments under the Withdrawal Agreement”.
He added: “I feel strongly we must keep the commitments we make; if we give our word, then we must honour it.”
Mr Johnson’s former attorney general Mr Cox has slammed the PM for threatening to damage Britain’s “standing and reputation” on the world stage if he pushes through a law overruling key clauses of the original Brexit deal.
Writing in The Times, Mr Cox said: “No British minister should solemnly undertake to observe treaty obligations with his fingers crossed behind his back.
Mr Cox, who oversaw the inking of the original Brexit deal, demanded Mr Johnson “accept all the ordinary and foreseeable consequences” of that agreement, and said he would not vote for the bill.
The controversial law, which will be voted on in the House of Commons today, overrides parts of the Northern Ireland Protocol, which prevented a hard border.