Boris Johnson’s controversial proposal to tear up part of the Brexit treaty with the European Union passed through the House of Commons on Monday by a majority of 77 despite a rebellion among Tory MPs. Shadow Business Secretary Ed Miliband accused the Prime Minister of “legislative hooliganism” as he warned the Bill would “equip the Government with the power to break the law” in a widely-praised speech leading Labour’s opposition in the Commons. The former Labour leader also claimed the Prime Minister was trying to shift the blame for reneging on the withdrawal agreement on which he fought last year’s general election.
He said: “For the first time in his life, it is time to take responsibility, it is time to fess up.”
With the new Internal Market Bill, the Government is essentially seeking to prevent disruption to trade between the four nations of the UK if no deal is reached with the EU.
Downing Street has described it as a “vital legal safety net”.
As tensions in Brussels and the House of Commons are set to rise in the incoming days, unearthed reports reveal how Mr Miliband also did not “take responsibility” for Labour’s failings during the Brexit referendum campaign.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme in June 2016, the former Labour leader tried to explain why his party’s message on voting Remain was ineffective.
He argued the battle between former Prime Minister David Cameron and Mr Johnson had dominated the campaign too much.
He said: “The sexy part of the campaign has been this blue on blue action.
“Some Labour voters don’t know where we stand at the moment.
JUST IN: Boris Johnson’s solution to ‘level playing field’ impasse exposed
Wanting to shift the debate away from a Tory-only fight, Mr Miliband warned: “The price we would pay for leaving the EU – in trade, in wages, in unemployment, in recession – is a price we should not be willing to pay.”
He acknowledged immigration was “a concern” for Labour voters but said leaving the EU was not the answer, and that it would have only damaged the UK economy.
After standing down as Labour leader after the 2015 general election, Mr Miliband returned to the frontbenches when Sir Keir Starmer took the reins of the party earlier this year.