'Lawmakers should not be lawbreakers' - former Tory Minister on Brexit divorce deal

15 September 2020, 09:06 | Updated: 15 September 2020, 12:26

EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

"Lawmakers should not be lawbreakers" - A Tory former Cabinet minister has said it would be "unacceptable" to breach international law with legislation to override the Brexit divorce deal.

Andrew Mitchell hit out at clauses in the Government's Internal Market Bill.

Speaking to LBC's Nick Ferrari the Tory MP said he thought it was "extraordinarily difficult" for politicians to "go through the Lobbies voting to breach international law."

Mr Mitchell said doing so "hits at the very roots of what Britain is, our very DNA, what we stand for."

He said he hoped the Government had heard the voices of those who want to amend the Internal Market Bill.

Boris Johnson's controversial plan to override key elements of the Brexit deal he signed with Brussels cleared the first Commons hurdle on Monday night.

MPs voted to give the UK Internal Market Bill a second reading by 340 to 263 - a Government majority of 77.

Two Tory MPs - Sir Roger Gale and Andrew Percy - voted against the Bill, while 30 did not cast a vote although some may have been "paired" with opposition MPs.

Andrew Mitchell said he backed large parts of the Bill, but would not back it unless it was amended, stating: "To ask members of the parliamentary party to walk through the Lobbies quite deliberately voting to breach international law is something which I cannot do."

Sir Bob Neill, the chairman of the Commons Justice Committee who has tabled an amendment requiring a vote of Parliament before ministers can exercise the new powers in the Bill, urged MPs to "take the opportunity to change and improve these clauses".