Published: Tue, September 15, 2020

Ed Miliband tears into Boris Johnson over Northern Ireland and Brexit

Ed Miliband tears into Boris Johnson over Northern Ireland and Brexit

The proposed legislation has prompted a wave of anger both at Westminster and in Brussels over the plan to give ministers the power to alter key elements of the UK's Withdrawal Agreement, which was formally signed by Prime Minister Boris Johnson in January.

However the most-widely shared parts of his 25-minute oration - the text of which was released in full by the Labour Party - involved his attack on the prime minister sitting just a few feet away.

Labour's business spokesman and former leader Ed Miliband slammed Johnson's plan, saying it would damage Britain's worldwide reputation and reduce the likelihood of a free-trade deal with the EU.

With Sir Keir self-isolating after a member of his household developed Covid-19 symptoms, Ed Miliband, the former Labour leader and shadow business secretary, responded to Mr Johnson in the Commons, accusing him of "legislative hooliganism" and said he had ignored warnings over how the Northern Ireland Protocol works and the mediation measures in place.

Johnson claims the European Union has threatened to use "an extreme interpretation" of the withdrawal agreement to "blockade" food shipments from the rest of the Northern Ireland unless Britain agrees to accept European Union regulations.

Cox, previously a strong supporter of Johnson on Brexit, said he wouldn't support the proposal when the House of Commons takes its first vote on the contentious legislation later Monday. "This is his deal, it's his mess, it's his failure".

But Mr Johnson's spokesman said the Bill would "create a legal safety net" that would "protect the integrity of the UK's internal market".

Former chancellor Sajid Javid was also among the Tory MPs who is set to vote against it.

The bill was passed by a government majority of 77 on Monday evening, with 340 MPs for to 263 against.

"The passing of the bill does not mean the powers will necessarily be used", said Johnson.

He adds: "I have real concerns with the United Kingdom unilaterally breaking its legal commitments under the Withdrawal Agreement".

Conservative lawmaker Rehman Chishti quite as the prime minister's special envoy on freedom of religion in protest over the bill. I'll very happily give way to him.

Downing Street last week claimed the Brexit deal was agreed "at pace" and the problems with the aspects of the treaty regarding Northern Ireland were unforeseen.

"I'm standing firm to deliver Brexit and will stand up to bullies".

"I think it possibly was the case in some senses that it was 'make the agreement in haste and then repent at leisure.' And what we're seeing now is the repentance". "A disruptive Brexit transition to a distant post-Brexit destination is likely to compound the economic impact of the coronavirus crisis".

Even some Brexit-backing Tories are unhappy, with one, Charles Walker, saying: "I'm no fan of the European Union. but surely we have to exhaust all other options before we press the nuclear button".

The main opposition Labour Party will vote against Johnson's Brexit plan, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The British government has won the vote on the controversial bill that gives it power to override parts of the Brexit withdrawal agreement and possibly break worldwide law.

"He is making a mistake reneging on a deal and that will have reputational damage", Starmer said.

Indeed, the move is considered so questionable that three former Conservative prime ministers, including Johnson's immediate predecessors (in that order) Theresa May and David Cameron, have come out against the move.

Geoffrey Cox QC, who was Mr Johnson's Attorney General when the Withdrawal Agreement was signed, said breaking global law would damage the UK's standing. "It should be an absolute final resort".

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