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Brexit: UK’s Internal Market Bill passes with ease
Bill will now go to the House of Lords after a tiny rebellion failed to prevent its passage.
Updated 9/29/20, 11:16 PM CET
LONDON — The U.K.’s controversial Internal Market Bill easily cleared its final hurdle in the House of Commons on Tuesday night.
It passed by 340 votes to 256, with only a small number of Tory MPs rebelling and not voting for the bill.
The bill seeks to give ministers powers to rewrite sections of the Withdrawal Agreement signed by the U.K. government and European Union last year. When the Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis admitted in the Commons that this would break international law, many Tories were dismayed and threatened to prevent the bill from passing through parliament.
Downing Street eventually compromised, reducing the prospect of a large rebellion by accepting an amendment that would give MPs a vote before the government could use any of the powers in the bill to break international law.
In the end, not a single Conservative MP actively voted against the bill at the final stage though 21 abstained, including former Prime Minister Theresa May who had earlier said she could not support the legislation. A number of those abstentions were simply on account of absence rather than indicative of withheld support.
However, the legislation remains a key point of contention between the European Union and U.K. government as future relationship talks continue,