BORIS JOHNSON has been forced into a compromise over his plans to break international law by overriding the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement.
It comes after advocate general for Scotland Lord Keen of Elie QC tendered his resignation, saying he ‘considered it my duty’.
And it follows the departure of the head of the government’s legal department, Sir Jonathan Jones, who quit last week as the bill was announced.
The government will now table an amendment to the UK Internal Market Bill, giving MPs a vote before it can use powers which would breach the deal brokered with Brussels last year. Around 30 Tory rebels were thought to be preparing to vote for an amendment which would have required a vote in the House of Commons before the provisions in the bill relating to Northern Ireland could come into force.
No.10 relented and announced in a joint statement with Conservative MPs Sir Bob Neill and Damian Green that it would seek to amend the bill.
The statement said: ‘Following constructive talks over the last few days, the government has agreed to table an amendment. This amendment will require the House of Commons to vote for a motion before a minister can use the “notwithstanding” powers contained in the UK Internal Market Bill.’
It added: ‘We welcome the way the parliamentary party has come together on these issues.
‘There is near-unanimous agreement that the government must be able to use these powers as a final resort, that there must be legal certainty, and that no further amendments are required on these powers.’ Last night, shadow attorney general Lord Falconer said: ‘This has been a week of chaos. The government’s authority is completely shot.
‘This has been a farce that shames the entire government.’