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Peers moved to strip controversial clauses from the UK Internal Market Bill that would enable ministers to break international laws. Peers are concerned the bill could override clauses in the Withdrawal Agreement relating to Northern Ireland.
The Lords voted 433 to 165, majority 268, to reject law-breaking powers after fierce backlash Tory former leader Michael Howard and Tory ex-chancellor Ken Clarke.
Peers went on to inflict a further defeat on the Government by 407 votes to 148, majority 259, stripping out a further contentious clause relating to the Northern Ireland Protocol.
However, No. 10 responded by insisting it would not back down stressing it would restore the clauses.
A UK Government spokesperson said: “We are disappointed that the House of Lords has voted to remove clauses from the UK Internal Market Bill, which was backed in the House of Commons by 340 votes to 256 and delivers on a clear Conservative manifesto commitment.
“We will re-table these clauses when the Bill returns to the Commons.
“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.”
Brexiteer John Redwood, Conservative and MP for Wokingham, also questioned the vote adding: “The Internal Market Bill does not break the law but changes U.K. law to help trade.
“Why does the House of Lords always take the E.U. line and seek to undermine the U.K‘s negotiations?
“Why do they always want us to be governed by Brussels?”
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8am update: Northern Ireland ministers lash out at EU over lack of clarity in protocol
Stormont’s leaders have warned the European Commission of the urgency of striking a deal to maintain continuity of food supplies into Northern Ireland from Britain.
Arlene Foster and Michelle O’Neill told Commission vice president Maros Sefcovic that is was “unacceptable” that it remained uncertain how the Northern Ireland Protocol would operate, less than two months before it comes into operation at the end of Brexit transition period.
Their letter to Mr Sefcovic comes amid the ongoing failure of the UK and EU to agree a practical framework that could potentially minimise the number of new regulatory checks required on food products entering the region from GB.
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