Boris Johnson stages Brexit climbdown – but could still break international law

Boris Johnson has staged a climbdown on his lawbreaking Brexit plan in the face of a Tory revolt.

It came less than an hour after Lord Keen quit as Scotland’s Advocate General over the plans, which would rewrite parts of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement.

Government insiders admitted last night there were likely to be changes to the Internal Markets Bill, with one saying there was already “engagement” with MPs across the Commons.

And Michael Gove told Tory rebel Bob Neill MP on Monday night that he might be “onto something” with his plan to give MPs an extra vote before the measures came into force.

This evening Number 10 announced the plan would be modified – but could still allow the government to break international law if MPs voted for it.

In a joint statement, Number 10, Tory MP Sir Bob Neill and Damian Green MP, chairman of the Tory One Nation caucus said: “Following constructive talks over the last few days, the Government has agreed to table an amendment for Committee Stage.

“This amendment will require the House of Commons to vote for a motion before a minister can use the ‘notwithstanding’ powers contained in the U.K. Internal Market Bill.

“The Internal Market Bill was designed to give MPs and Peers a vote on the use of these powers via statutory instrument.

“But following talks, it is agreed that the Parliamentary procedure suggested by some colleagues provides a clearer, more explicit democratic mandate for the use of these powers, and also provides more legal certainty.

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“The Government will table another amendment which sets clear limits on the scope and timeliness of judicial review into the exercise of these powers. This will provide people and businesses with the certainty that they need.

“We welcome the way the Parliamentary Party has come together on these issue. There is near-unanimous agreement that the Government must be able to use these powers as a final resort, that there must be legal certainty, and that no further amendments are required on these powers.”



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