MPs cannot take Boris Johnson’s commitment to scrap controversial law-breaking powers from key draft legislation for granted because of his willingness to “rip up” international treaties, Ed Miliband warned.
The shadow Business Secretary suggested the Prime Minister was beginning to “climb down” over his threat to tear up parts of the Withdrawal Agreement he signed with Brussels last year.
But Mr Miliband said the pledge to remove several clauses within the Internal Market Bill which would breach international law could not be trusted due to Mr Johnson’s track record.
“Three months of posturing, undermining our reputation in the world, and today an hour before the debate begins we see some preparations maybe for the brakes being applied before we go over the cliff,” the former Labour leader said in a debate on the Bill.
“There is one thing this whole sorry saga has shown the world, I’m afraid, beyond any doubt, and that’s with this Government their word is not their bond, they cannot be trusted because they’re willing to rip up international agreements they made less than a year ago.”
The business minister Paul Scully explained that the Government wants to retain these clauses in their current form in the Bill until discussions with the EU “have successfully concluded”.
He also confirmed that the Government would be prepared to remove or deactivate three of the clauses if solutions are agreed to during talks with the EU.
The UK Prime Minister is keen for a trade agreement, in order to avoid the economic harm of a no-deal outcome and damage to his reputation as a successful dealmaker forged last year. But he is also anxious not to be seen to undermine the UK’s sovereignty, which would lose him the trust of the Brexiteers who brought him to power.
Ursula von der Leyen
The European Commission President does not want her time at the top of the EU to be dominated by rows with the UK, as happened to her predecessor Jean-Claude Juncker. But she also needs to be seen as a reliable defender of member states’ interests and protector of the single market.
most hard-line among all European leaders, France’s
, believes that giving too much ground to the UK is a greater danger than a no-deal outcome. He has pressed the argument that talks can simply restart next year
Germany’s Chancellor is stepping down next year and views Brexit as a distraction from the European achievements she wants to be her legacy, primarily the creation of a centralised budget which will knit together EU states more closely as they recover from Covid-19.