Brexiteer warns Boris against giving up on Brexit Bill as he predicts ‘soft deal’ with EU

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Speaking to TalkRADIO, the former Brexit Party MEP and Chairman of Unlocked, claimed the Prime Minister is now caught between a rock and a hard place after the House of Lords rejected key clauses of his Internal Market (IM) Bill and he faces resistance in the Commons too. Mr Habib warned: “We’re not just talking about a trade deal here, we are in fact talking about a much bigger arrangement.

“It’s really the future arrangement between the United Kingdom and the EU and what’s at stake is not just trade but – as much as Remainers won’t like me saying this – our very sovereignty still remains at risk.

“Whilst we have Brexit, actually a lot remains that still needs to be done.

“My concern with all of this is that if the Prime Minister was really serious about getting our sovereignty back, he would never have signed the withdrawal agreement, he would have renegotiated his position once he got his majority and having signed it, he’s put the UK in a very weak position.

“I know the House of Lords is sending the IM Bill back to the Commons and theoretically the Commons could force it to go straight back to the Lords, but actually, the Prime Minister has trouble in the Commons as well. There are a lot of MPs who are against the IM Bill.

“So I think the Prime Minister is really caught between a rock and a hard place at the moment and escaping that won’t be easy.

“I suspect he will do what most politicians do in these circumstances, which is to find parts of least resistance and that would be to do a deal which is quite soft with the EU.”

It comes as peers moved to strip controversial clauses from the UK Internal Market Bill that would enable ministers to break international laws.

The Lords voted 433 to 165, majority 268, to reject law-breaking powers after fierce criticism by Tory former leader Michael Howard and Tory ex-chancellor Ken Clarke.

The Government immediately responded by insisting it would not back down.

A 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.”

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.

All other controversial provisions were removed without votes.

Labour’s leader in the House of Lords, Baroness Angela Smith said: “I am sure some in government will initially react with bravado and try to dismiss tonight’s historic votes in the Lords. To do so, however, would underestimate the genuine and serious concerns across the UK and beyond about ministers putting themselves above and beyond the rule of law.

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“The Government should see sense, accept the removal of these offending clauses, and start to rebuild our international reputation.”

The move came after Tory former prime minister Sir John Major said the Government’s plan to override key elements of the Brexit deal hurt Britain’s global reputation.

Sir John condemned Mr Johnson’s position, insisting it was “unprecedented in all our history – and for good reason”.

Sir John said the UK Internal Market Bill, which ministers have admitted will breach international law, had “damaged our reputation around the world”.

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