Blair, Major urge MPs to reject Internal Market Bill

Former British PMs Tony Blair and Sir John Major urged Parliament to reject Boris Johnson's "shameful" attempt to override parts of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement by imposing the so-called Internal Market Bill, the BBC reported. It is to be voted in parliament on Monday. The PMs accused the government of "embarrassing" the UK.

Johnson introduced the bill arguing that the EU is threatening to impose a customs border in the Irish Sea, separating Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK. But the bill would go against the Withdrawal Agreement, signed by the UK and EU earlier this year. It addresses the Northern Ireland Protocol - the part of the Agreement designed to prevent a hard border returning to the island of Ireland.

If the bill becomes law it would give UK ministers powers to modify or "disapply" rules relating to the movement of goods between Britain and Northern Ireland that will come into force from 1 January, if the UK and EU are unable to strike a trade deal.

Writing in the Sunday Times, Major and Blair - former Conservative and Labour PMs respectively - said the government's actions were "irresponsible, wrong in principle and dangerous in practice". "It raises questions that go far beyond the impact on Ireland, the peace process and negotiations for a trade deal - crucial though they are. It questions the very integrity of our nation," they said.

The former leaders, both vehement opponents of Brexit, said that respecting treaty obligations was "just as important" as domestic law, and called for MPs to reject the legislation. "As the world looks on aghast at the UK - the word of which was once accepted as inviolable - this government's action is shaming itself and embarrassing our nation," they added.

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