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Sir Bill Cash claimed Labour has previously broken international law as he argued for the Internal Market Bill to be passed which would override parts of the UK’s Brexit agreement with the EU. The move would break international law in a “limited and specific way”, Boris Johnson’s Government earlier conceded. But Sir Bill spoke out in a fiery defence of the Bill in the House of Commons as he accused the Labour Party of having passed acts of Parliament which break international law, although he did not elaborate further.
He told MPs: “I’ve already made the point that the Labour Party themselves have been passing acts of Parliament which quite clearly and unequivocally override international law.
“It’s also happened in relation to other legislation in the UK.
“Will my honourable friend bare that in mind when he is considering the question of last resort, the threshold hold that he referred to the other day and the fact that this is more common than he may appreciate.
“Sovereignty above all us is the keystone on which the whole of Brexit depends.”
During the debate, SNP Joanna Cherry added: “There’s a strong argument that this Bill, the existence of this Bill and the existence of clause 45, breaches the UK’s duty of good faith in Article 5 of the withdrawal agreement.”
Continuing his speech, Tory Sir Bob Neill said: “There can be certain circumstances in which the breach of the true meaning of the agreement is such that the UK itself will be entitled to use its international law rights.”
“Essentially Parliament is sovereign and… it can legislate in a way which is incompatible with international law, that doesn’t make it a desirable course to go down.
“The UK should be very wary about doing anything which breaches its international (law) obligations.”
The Opposition has tabled new clause one to the United Kingdom Internal Market Bill, which removes sections of the legislation which allow the UK to override the Brexit divorce deal.
Ministers have argued such powers to override the withdrawal agreement are needed to protect the relationship between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, although have acknowledged it will enable them to breach international law if necessary.
Business minister Paul Scully said: “The Government has already been clear that these clauses are required to provide a safety net of powers in reserve.”
He claimed Labour’s proposals would “remove that safety net”, adding this is something the Government “can’t agree with”.
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Mr Scully went on: “I can reassure MPs that many of the proposals in new clause one are already addressed in the Bill.”
Shadow business minister Lucy Powell claimed it could break up the UK.
She said: “We have been clear that this, as drafted, is a bad Bill which is not in the national interest. Today we will once again work to try and improve it.
“It is a Bill that breaks the law and could break up the UK.”
She added: “The truth is that even with the additional vote conceded from (Mr Scully), it doesn’t change the fundamentals that this Bill itself breaks the agreement and breaks international law.”
Express.co.uk has contacted the Labour Party for a comment on Sir Bill’s remarks today in the Commons.
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