The Government’s controversial Brexit bill has been dealt a crushing blow, after peers rejected a bid to give ministers power to break international law.
In the first of a series of votes on stripping law-breaking powers from the Internal Market Bill, the Government has been heavily defeated in the House of Lords by 433 to 165, with a majority 268.
A No 10 spokesperson said they were ‘disappointed’ that peers had voted to remove the clauses from the Bill and vowed to reinstate them in the Commons.
The Bill seeks to override elements of the Withdrawal Agreement made with Brussels, which would break international legislation.
Former Prime Minister Sir John Major said the Bill had ‘damaged our reputation around the world’.
Ministers defending the Bill argue that the powers are needed to protect Great Britain’s relationship with Northern Ireland, amid concerns that Brussels could try to disrupt food goods travelling between the two as part of trade talks.
A No 10 spokesperson added: ‘We’ve been consistently clear that the clauses represent a legal safety net to protect the integrity of the UK’s internal market and the huge gains of the peace process.
‘We expect the House of Lords to recognise that we have an obligation to the people of Northern Ireland to make sure they continue to have unfettered access to the UK under all circumstances.’
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