MEPs have threatened to block any Brexit trade deal unless Boris Johnson backs down on plans to tear up parts of his ‘oven ready’ Withdrawal Agreement.
It would mean plunging the UK into a no-deal exit from the EU unless the PM scraps his UK Internal Market Bill – which ministers have admitted breaks international law.
A statement from leaders in the European Parliament and its UK co-ordination group said the bill is a “serious and unacceptable breach of international law” which puts at risk the trade negotiations.
“Should the UK authorities breach – or threaten to breach – the Withdrawal Agreement, through the United Kingdom Internal Market Bill in its current form or in any other way, the European Parliament will under no circumstances ratify any agreement between the EU and the UK,” it continued.
The EU yesterday threatened Britain with legal action unless Mr Johnson scraps plans to modify the exit deal.
The Prime Minister risked fury from senior Tories and Brussels after ministers admitted they could break international law over the deal.
Ministers argue the new proposed legislation, in the UK Internal Market bill, is necessary to protect the Northern Ireland peace process if London and Brussels are unable to agree a free trade deal before the current Brexit transition period runs out at the end of the year.
There was strong disagreement from senior figures in the party yesterday, with Lord Howard becoming the third Conservative former party leader to criticise Mr Johnson’s plans as he accused the Government of damaging the UK’s “reputation for probity and respect for the rule of the law”.
“How can we reproach Russia or China or Iran when their conduct falls below internationally accepted standards, when we are are showing such scant regard for our treaty obligations?” he told the House of Lords.