Brexit Britain ALMOST free from the clutches of the EU! MPs vote for crucial new Truss legislation | Politics | New

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Brexit: EU ambassador says UK plan ‘illegal’

MPs voted 295 to 221, a majority of 74, in favor of the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill, which aims to give ministers the power to override aspects of the treaty. The legislation would significantly reduce customs checks imposed on goods crossing from Britain to the province if they were to remain in the UK.

Opening the debate on the Bill’s second reading in the Commons this afternoon, the Foreign Secretary told MPs the Government ‘simply cannot let this situation get out of hand’.

Unionists warn that Brussels’ heavy-handed approach to customs checks between Britain and the province under the protocol has undermined the UK’s internal market and jeopardizes the Good Friday Agreement.

The DUP, Northern Ireland’s largest unionist party, refused to return to the power-sharing executive in protest at the protocol, leaving the region without a functioning government.

Mr Truss rejected claims by critics that the bill ‘brazenly breaches a solemn international treaty’ as she told the Commons her plan was legal because of its need to restore the Executive of Ireland from the North.

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Liz Truss’ plan was backed by MPs in the Commons (Image: PARLIAMENT.TV)

“Northern Ireland has been without a devolved government since February due in part to the protocol, at a time of major global economic challenges.

“Therefore, it is the duty of this government to act now to allow a restored local government plan to begin. It is both legal and necessary,” she said this afternoon.

“We have considered all alternative solutions and the only effective solution is this Northern Ireland Protocol Bill, in the absence of the EU’s will to negotiate a new protocol.”

Talks between the UK and Brussels to find a solution to the protocol have been held since last October to no avail.

The proposals put forward by Ms Truss have angered the EU and MPs in favor of her argument.

The bloc says the legislation would break the law by unilaterally altering an international pact without agreement on both sides.

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Northern Ireland protocol explained

Northern Ireland protocol explained (Picture: EXPRESS)

Yesterday EU Ambassador to the UK Joao Vale de Almeida told Sky News: ‘We are not dismissing it but we are reading it very carefully and we think, to be very candid, that it is both illegal and unrealistic.

“It’s illegal because it’s a breach of international law, a breach of EU law, UK law and international law.

“It’s a treaty that we signed, ratified and even went through a general election in this country.”

A number of Tory rebels joined opposition parties in abstaining and voting against the bill tonight.

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The EU ambassador to the UK said plans were

EU ambassador to UK says plans are ‘illegal and unrealistic’ (Picture: SKY)

Joao Vale de Almeida said the EU wanted to find a solution

Joao Vale de Almeida said the EU wanted to find a solution (Picture: SKY)

Former prime minister Theresa May led criticism from the Tory benches in delivering a withering assessment of the bill’s legality and impact.

She said: “The UK’s position in the world, our ability to bring people together and encourage others to stand up for our common values, depends on the respect others have for us as a country, a country that keeps its word and displays these shared values ​​in its actions.

“As a patriot, I wouldn’t want to do anything that would diminish this country in the eyes of the world.

“I have to say to the government that this bill is not, in my view, legal under international law, will not achieve its aims and will diminish the position of the UK in the eyes of the world, and I can’t support it.”

She was joined in her attacks by former Conservative cabinet minister Andrew Mitchell, who said the bill ‘brazenly breaches a solemn international treaty’ and Simon Hoare, the Conservative chairman of the Northern Ireland Select Committee, who has urged the government that it “is not too late to change”. of course, but must be done as soon as possible”.

Theresa May gave a scathing speech attacking the bill

Theresa May gave a scathing speech attacking the bill (Image: PARLIAMENT.TV)

While Ms Truss faced opposition from less enthusiastic Brexit supporters within the party, the European Research Group of Eurosceptic Conservative MPs approved the legislation after consulting its legal experts on the bill’s impacts and protocol.

Labor accused the bill of being ‘damaging and counterproductive’, as the party set out its case against the government’s legislation.

However, there were raised eyebrows when Sir Keir Starmer failed to impose strict orders on his MPs to take part in this vote.

Labor MPs have privately admitted that the party’s three-line whip on the Northern Ireland Bill is ‘not the strictest’, with several allowed to not be there for personal reasons or because of the work of a select committee.

A senior Tory MP, who was told by three Labor MPs they would not vote, said: “This shows you everything you need to know.

Simon Hoare should be among the Tories leading the rebellion

Simon Hoare was among the Tories leading the rebellion (Image: PARLIAMENT.TV)

“Labour are happy to let their MPs off the hook for having had to oppose a sensible measure and also if they thought there would be a significant rebellion on our side (the Tories) then everyone should vote.”

The MP said: ‘There are three line whips and then three line whips. Sometimes they are stricter than others.’

But a source close to the Labor leadership denied the party was not taking a hard line on the bill.

“We are on a 3-line whip and therefore no one who would normally be absent due to select committee business, illness etc. will be absent. The point raised is 100% false.”

The legislation will undergo further scrutiny by MPs before being voted on in the House for its final stage in the Commons at a later date.

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