A group of Conservative MPs are planning to table an amendment to the Internal Market Bill, blocking the Government from superseding the withdrawal agreement without Parliament’s consent. The amendment is being tabled by Sir Bob Neill with support from Damian Green and Oliver Heald, both former ministers.
The MPs are furious at Mr Johnson’s plan to override parts of the Brexit withdrawal agreement.
Speaking to Times Radio Sir Bob warned: “I hope it’s at least an indication as a Government that really, you need to think very hard and carefully about going down this route.
“For heaven’s sake, try and find some other way.”
Sir Bob indicated he is prepared to rebel even if this would mean losing the Conservative Party whip.
Mr Johnson expelled 21 Tory MPs from the parliamentary party last year for rebelling against his Brexit strategy though some were later allowed to re-join.
Speaking to Sky News another Tory MP, Sir Roger Gale, said he’d be ready to lose the whip.
Sir Gale commented: “I shall do what I have to do on the basis of principle.
“And the principle is that this United Kingdom keeps its word internationally.”
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Britain formally left the EU on January 31 of this year.
However it currently remains in a Brexit transition period until the end of the year, during which the UK is continuing to pay into the EU budget and accept many laws drafted by Brussels.
Some of those criticising the Prime Minister’s plans are prominent Brexit advocates.
Speaking to LBC Radio Sir Bernard Jenkin, who chairs the Brexit backing European Research Group of Tory MPs, said: “The Prime Minister should be more mindful of the reputational damage of playing such hardball when there’s really no consensus from the country to go about breaking international agreements.”
The deal was signed by the UK and EU in October 2019.
However, the Government has concluded the checks it requires on goods travelling between Great Britain and Northern Ireland are an infringement of UK sovereignty.
They are also angry Brussels is refusing to sign a free trade deal with the UK unless Britain makes concessions on fishing rights and what state aid can be provided to companies.
The Government has tabled an Internal Market Bill which would override restrictions related to the Northern Ireland protocol.
Parliament will begin debating the proposed legislation next week.
European leaders argue the Northern Ireland protocol is needed to prevent a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic and thus maintain the 1998 Good Friday Agreement.