British MPs back Brexit bill despite European Union anger

Former prime minister David Cameron

During some five hours of debate ahead of the vote, Prime Minister Boris Johnson defended the law's more controversial provisions - which, among other things, would empower ministers to override European Union regulations on trade and government aid - arguing the bill is needed to guarantee the UK's "economic and political integrity".

Mr Johnson had won the so-called second reading parliamentary vote on the Internal Market Bill 340 to 263. It's about exit declarations - Northern Ireland to GB - and the definition of state aid relating to Northern Ireland.

Writing on Twitter, Mr Javid - who resigned from Mr Johnson's cabinet after senior adviser Dominic Cummings tried to seize control of his advisers - said: "It is not clear to me why it is necessary for the United Kingdom to break worldwide law".

"Breaking global law is a step that should never be taken lightly", wrote Tory MP and former chancellor Sajid Javid in a statement, adding that he could not support "pre-emptively reneging" on the withdrawal agreement and that he would not be supporting the bill on its second reading on Tuesday. "I believe the United Kingdom's word is its bond and I think this is damaging our global reputation for honesty and straight-dealing", Sir Roger said.

"I took a view that you fight this tooth and nail at every step".

"The EU still have not taken this revolver off the table", Johnson told parliament before the vote. Others have quite clearly decided they want to hold their fire.

Summing up the reading before MPs went to vote, Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove said that the United Kingdom is committed to making a success of its negotiations with the EU.

He said it erodes trust and makes complex negotiations even more hard. "Those negotiations go on", Mr Gove told the Commons.

Addressing concerns over the Bill, Lord Keen, one of the Government's law officers, insisted he did not believe it to be in breach of worldwide law.

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"And this Bill is certainly not about declining to implement the Northern Ireland Protocol".

Meanwhile, Labour leader Keir Starmer announced that he is isolating after a family member showed possible signs of Covid-19 infection.

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.

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

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

Under the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement Northern Ireland remains closely aligned with the EU's internal market, in order to prevent a hard border with the Republic of Ireland.

"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.

"It is critical that we pass this Bill before the end of the year".

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