Peers vow to block PM's bid to override parts of his own Brexit deal

Peers vow to block PM's bid to override parts of his own Brexit deal

June 9, 2022

Peers vow to block Boris Johnson’s bid to override parts of his own Brexit deal in move to delay it ‘for a considerable time’

  • As part of Brexit negotiations, UK and EU agreed to Northern Ireland protocol
  • It has led to disruption to goods crossing Irish Sea between Great Britain and NI
  • British Government intends to use law to unilaterally override aspects of it
  • Lord Clarke says that he thinks the Bill ‘will be seriously challenged in the Lords’

Anti-Brexit peers have warned Boris Johnson they will obstruct legislation to over-ride parts of the Northern Ireland protocol.

Ken Clarke said a controversial Bill to be unveiled by ministers early next week will be ‘seriously challenged’ in the Lords.

The Tory former chancellor, a strong supporter of the EU, expects a ‘very large majority’ of peers will ‘hold it up for a considerable time’.

As part of Brexit negotiations, the UK and EU agreed to the Northern Ireland protocol, which is designed to avoid the need for a border on the island of Ireland.

But this has led to disruption to goods crossing the Irish Sea between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, with new checks imposed on those moving to the province. 

Ken Clarke said a controversial Bill to be unveiled by ministers early next week will be ‘seriously challenged’ in the Lords

Concerns also have been raised that Northern Ireland’s place within the UK is being undermined, with the DUP blocking the formation of a power-sharing executive at Stormont until the issue is resolved.

The British Government intends to use domestic law to unilaterally over-ride aspects of the post-Brexit arrangements to reduce the checks required. Foreign Secretary Liz Truss is expected to publish the legislation early next week.

Downing Street said yesterday it remained ‘confident’ the Bill ‘is lawful under international law’, but Lord Clarke said: ‘I think it will be seriously challenged in the Lords. I personally, I am afraid, usually vote against the Government when they are trying to break the rule of law.

‘I do think in the modern world we need a rules-based international order in which countries reach agreements and then stick to them. I do not think the Government should be allowed to negotiate a treaty, tell the public that it is a fine treaty, the perfect Brexit, get it ratified by Parliament, and then almost immediately start trying to break it.

The British Government intends to use domestic law to unilaterally over-ride aspects of the post-Brexit arrangements to reduce the checks required. Foreign Secretary Liz Truss is expected to publish the legislation early next week. A lorry is pictured leaving Larne port in February

‘I expect to find a very large majority of the House of Lords will hold it up for a considerable time.’

In November 2020, peers inflicted on the Government the largest defeat in more than two decades over its threat to renege on parts of the UK’s Withdrawal Agreement with the EU. 

Tory grandees including Michael Howard joined the revolt as the Lords voted by 433 to 165 to strip out key clauses of the Internal Market Bill.

Lord Howard last night said he expected the new legislation will ‘undoubtedly encounter a rocky road’ in the Lords.

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