Boris Johnson's Brexit 'negotiating tactic' has backfired, says Leo Varadkar

Michael Barnier is seen leaving EU-Brexit talks in central London

They also claim the internal market bill, if passed, would breach worldwide law and tarnish Britain's global reputation as a law-abiding nation and the UK's ability to enforce other worldwide trade deals and protect jobs and the economy.

Johnson says the UK Internal Market Bill will ensure "unfettered access" for trade after that within the UK's four nations - Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Johnson told MPs he understood their unease and has absolutely no desire to use these powers, describing the bill as an insurance policy or safety net.

At least 50 rebels would be needed to defeat the Government, as Mr Johnson has an 80-seat majority and the DUP also said it would vote for the Bill.

But EU leaders have dismissed this as "spin" and warned Johnson to uphold commitments he himself made in the Brexit treaty a year ago - demanding he withdraw the offending parts of the new bill by the end of September.

Sir Charles Walker, deputy chairman of the 1922 Committee, said: "I do think being asked to put this country, this House, members of this House, our constituents on the wrong side of the law before we've exhausted all other options ... surely we have to exhaust all other options before we press the
nuclear button".

Rehman Chishti, the prime minister's special envoy on freedom of religion and belief, has resigned in protest at the Internal Market Bill and its implications for the backstop. "They are an insurance policy and if we reach agreement with our European friends, which I still believe is possible, they will never be invoked".

His previous finance minister, Sajid Javid, said he could not support the bill unless it was amended. I'll very happily give way to him.


What mystifies some observers is that Johnson is repudiating a treaty that he himself negotiated and hailed as an "oven-ready" deal that would "get Brexit done". Brexit will also hurt a different set of firms than those hit the most by the pandemic, Goldman said.

"But it doesn't matter anymore, we lost, it's over, that ship has sailed", he said.

But Johnson claimed the European Union was ready to go to "extreme and unreasonable lengths" and to use these arrangements to "exert leverage" in the trade negotiations.

Neill's cause was boosted by the intervention of former Attorney General Geoffrey Cox, an influential Conservative backbencher, who wrote in the Times that Johnson's approach does "unconscionable" damage to Britain's worldwide reputation.

Ed Milliband, business spokesman for the opposition Labour Party, accused Johnson of "trashing the reputation of this country and trashing the reputation of his office".

It claims the legislation is needed as an insurance policy to prevent what Mr Johnson has claimed would be a "blockade" between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom in the event of a no trade-deal Brexit.

While the language of the bill does state it would "have effect notwithstanding any relevant global or domestic law with which they may be incompatible or inconsistent", the prime minister has stated that an additional vote would be required before the law's powers could be invoked, apparently hoping to assure opponents and hold back a rebellion within his own party.

Theresa May, John Major and Labour former PMs Tony Blair and Gordon Brown had already spoken out.

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