Johnson Puts His Law-Breaking Plan to Parliament: Brexit Update

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Boris Johnson puts his law-breaking Brexit plan to its first debate and vote in the House of Commons, amid a growing rebellion in the prime minister’s own Conservative Party over legislation that would override key elements of the divorce treaty signed with the European Union.

The bloc has threatened legal action against Johnson if he proceeds — but he’s showing no signs of backing down. The prime minister’s immediate challenge is seeing off the Tory revolt after party heavyweights including former Attorney General Geoffrey Cox criticized the government.

Read More:How Johnson’s ‘Rogue State’ Upended Brexit in Just a Week: Q&A

Key developments

  • Conservative MP Bob Neill says support “growing” for his bid to amend Johnson’s bill to give Parliament a veto over breaking international law
  • Former prime minister David Cameron says he has “misgivings” about Johnson’s move
  • Main opposition Labour Party will vote against the bill
  • Debate starts in Parliament this afternoon, vote due at about 10 p.m. Johnson is expected to win this early stage in bill’s passage

‘Growing’ Support for Rebel Amendment (11 a.m.)

Conservative MP Bob Neill, who has proposed an amendment to Johnson’s plan effectively giving Parliament a veto over whether the U.K. exercises the powers which would be in breach of international law, told Bloomberg Radio there’s a “good chance” it passes.

“We’ve got significant and growing support for it because I think it’s a sensible compromise,” he said. “It’s reasonable for the government to play hardball, but within the rules,” he said. “Don’t come down to the level of breaking your international commitments.”

Neill’s cause was boosted by the intervention of former Attorney General Geoffrey Cox, an influential Conservative backbencher, who wrote in the Times that Johnson’s approach does “unconscionable” damage to Britain’s international reputation.

Labour Will Vote Against Bill (Earlier)

The main opposition Labour Party will vote against Johnson’s Brexit plan, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Meanwhile Labour leader Keir Starmer told LBC Radio that while the party supports Johnson in trying to get a trade deal with the EU, it “will not go along with breaking international law.” Starmer also said he suspects Johnson’s latest move may be designed to gain leverage in the talks.

“He is making a mistake reneging on a deal and that will have reputational damage,” Starmer said.

Cameron Has ‘Misgivings’ on Brexit Plan (Earlier)

Former prime minister David Cameron completed the set of living ex-leaders of the U.K. who have spoken out against Johnson’s Brexit plan, saying he has “misgivings” over the proposals.

“Passing an Act of Parliament and then going on to break an international treaty obligation is the very, very last thing you should contemplate,” Cameron said in a pooled TV clip. “It should be an absolute final resort.”

Cameron joins Theresa May, John Major, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown in raising concerns about Johnson’s plan.

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