In an astonishing intervention, the five Anglican leaders claimed the legislation would undermine the UK’s standing in the world. However, firing back at the Archbishops, the Tory MP for Wokingham claimed the five were going against the wishes of the nation for the UK to be independent. Sir John also accused the five religious leaders of misusing their position.
He said today: “Bishops in the Lords side with the EU against the majority who wish for the UK to be independent.
“Is that the best they can use their privileged position for when Government is fighting the damage the pandemic does to lives and livelihoods?”
Led by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, the five men claimed the UK Internal Market Bill had “enormous” moral, political and legal consequences for the country.
They also expressed their concern for the status of the Good Friday Agreement.
The group said: “If carefully negotiated terms are not honoured and laws can be ‘legally’ broken, on what foundations does our democracy stand?
“This has enormous moral, as well as political and legal, consequences.
“We believe this would create a disastrous precedent.
“It is particularly disturbing for all of us who feel a sense of duty and responsibility to the Good Friday Agreement.”
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Led by Tory MP for Bromley and Chislehurst, Sir Bob Neill, the rebel group of MPs had threatened to vote against the Government due to fears the legislation violates the withdrawal agreement.
However, Mr Johnson reached a compromise with the rebel group which would give the Commons the power to vote on when to use the powers to override the withdrawal agreement.
Despite signing the withdrawal agreement in October, the UK Internal Market Bill proposes certain changes.
Under the bill, there would be no new checks on goods entering from Northern Ireland into Great Britain.
Ministers would also be able to modify rules relating to the movement of goods from January 1.
There are also powers to stop certain obligations made in relation to state aid.