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Downing Street will throw the ball back in the court of the Brussels bloc after Prime Minister Boris Johnson managed to find an agreement with Tory rebels over the UK Internal Market Bill. The Government will table an amendment to the Brexit bill, giving MPs a vote before it can use powers which would breach the deal brokered with Brussels last year.
Around 30 Tory rebels were thought to be preparing to vote for an amendment on Tuesday which would have required a Commons vote before the provisions in the Bill relating to Northern Ireland could come into force.
But Downing Street announced in a joint statement with Conservative MPs Sir Bob Neill and Damian Green, vowing to seek to amend the Bill to require the Commons to vote before a minister can use the “notwithstanding” powers contained within it.
BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg said the move was not the prime minister “giving up on his plans”.
She said: “Whatever you think of that, asking for extra permission from MPs does not mean that ministers have backed down on the overall principle that provoked such outrage.
“Aside from anything else, this is a government with a huge majority, so giving Parliament a “lock” is not exactly a big restriction.
“And this move does not mean that resistance in the House of Lords will disappear. And for that matter, the EU’s upset at a tense time will remain.
“But don’t mistake that for Downing Street giving up on its plan which caused such outrage at the start.”
It came after the Government’s top law officer for Scotland resigned amid reports he was unhappy about the plans to override the Withdrawal Agreement.
The EU is right to continue talking to Britain for now, and should not overreact to British tactics that could be aimed at pushing Brussels to break off negotiations over a Brexit trade deal, France’s European affairs minister has said.
Asked in parliament whether the EU should stop talks on the trade deal immediately, the French minister, Clement Beaune, said: “At this stage, we’re right to continue to discuss with the British.”
“Some on the other side of the Channel could be trying to push us into making mistakes. Then they will say: ‘it’s the Europeans who don’t want a deal, we in Britain have made our best efforts’.
Societe Generale analysts said hey now see an 80 percent chance that Britain and the EU will fail to strike a trade deal before the end of the year.
The European Union’s Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier has told the bloc’s 27 national envoys to Brussels that he still hoped a trade deal with Britain was possible, stressing that the coming days would be decisive, according to three diplomatic sources.
One of the EU diplomatic sources said: “Barnier still believes a deal is possible though the next days are key.”
A second diplomat, asked what Mr Barnier said on Wednesday and whether there was still a chance for a new agreement with the UK, said: “The hope is still there”.
He said the UK’s move on fisheries was a “glimmer of hope” but not enough yet.
Mr Barnier said the passing of a UK Internal Market Bill would make the EU’s position on governance of any trade deal more “rigid”.
Brussels is set to reject Boris Johnson’s compromise on plans to rip up the Brexit deal if trade talks with the bloc collapse.
European Union officials insisted the Government’s Internal Market Bill would still be in breach of international law even if MPs are offered more oversight over the legislation. The Prime Minister offered to work with Conservative backbenchers to defuse a revolt led by Commons justice committee chairman Sir Bob Neil. U
“I hope this is a tactic and it will stop. It is a bad tactic. And it was demonstrated last week that we are not divided or weak.”
The PM said the EU is “being abusive to Britain and risking four decades of friendship”.
He told the Sun the UK must “ring-fence” the Brexit deal “to put in watertight bulkheads that will stop friends and partners making abusive or extreme interpretations of the provisions.”
Joe Biden has been hit with a furious backlash after he waded into the row over Boris Johnson’s Brexit masterplan.
The US Democratic presidential candidate has sparked fury after he warned the UK it must honour the Northern Irish peace deal as it extracts itself from the EU or there would be no US trade deal.
A former Cabinet minister hit back saying Mr Biden, who is going up against US President Donald Trump, is a “Brexit and Boris hater”.
The blue-chip FTSE 100 and the mid-cap FTSE 250 were down 1.0 percent and 0.7 percent, respectively, with miners and automakers leading the declines.
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