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Ed Miliband ‘shames’ Boris Johnson over new Brexit plan


Boris Johnson and Ed Miliband
Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Ed Miliband during the debate into the Government’s proposed Internal Markets Bill in House of Commons (Picture: UK Parliament)

Labour’s Ed Miliband delivered a bruising speech in the House of Commons that left the prime minister looking ‘broken, weak and incompetent’.

Mr Miliband was speaking after the Prime Minister presented his ‘Internal Markets Bill’ for Parliament to vote on.

Mr Johnson’s new bill attempts to re-write his own ‘oven-ready’ withdrawal agreement, approved less than a year ago and which was the centrepiece of his 2019 election win.

Critics, including previous prime ministers Theresa May, David Cameron, Gordon Brown and Tony Blair have said the new bill would breach international law.

Presenting the paper Mr Johnson said: ‘What we cannot tolerate now is a situation where our EU counterparts seriously believe they have the power to break up our country.

‘We cannot have a situation where the very boundaries of our country can be dictated to by a foreign power or international organisation.’

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His trademark bravado was short-lived as Mr Miliband systematically dismantled the PM’s ‘incompetence and failure of governance’ leading to the Mail on Sunday’s Dan Hodges saying he couldn’t ‘remember the last time a British Prime Minister got ripped apart as comprehensively.’

Mr Miliband, a late call-up after Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer was forced to self-isolate when a member of his household displayed ‘coronavirus symptoms’, described the bill as ‘legislative hooliganism’.

He said the matter of upholding international law was what the UK was famous for around the world and the bill went ‘to the heart of who we are as a country and to the character of this government.’

He accused the PM of not understanding the legislation being put forward, telling Johnson that ‘while I have been part of many issues of contention across this dispatch box I never thought respecting international law would, in my lifetime, be a matter of disagreement.’

He said he could never imagine David Cameron ‘coming along and saying we are going to legislate to break international law on an agreement we had signed less than a year earlier as a country.’

He added: ’If there is one thing we are known for around the world it is the rule of law.

Mr Miliband continued: ‘This is not an argument about remain versus leave. It is an argument about right versus wrong.

‘The Brexitier and former chancellor of the exchequer Lord Lamont says the bill is ‘impossible to defend’.

‘The Brexitier and former attorney general who helped negotiate and signed off this deal as attorney general says the bill is ‘unconscionable’.


Prime Minister Boris Johnson listening as Britain’s main opposition Labour Party Shadow Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Secretary Ed Miliband speaks (Picture: Getty Images)

‘And the Brexitier Lord Howard, his former boss, said this: ‘I never thought it was a thing I’d hear a British minister, far less a Conservative minister, say was that the government was going to invite Parliament to act in breach of international law.’

The attacks kept coming during a relentless 30 minute speech with Mr Miliband accusing Johnson of either not being straight with the country or not understanding the withdrawal agreement.

Challenged on what the new bill overturned and offered the opportunity to interject MR Johnson sat silent, arms folded.

Mr Miliaband said: ‘There you have it then, he didn’t read the protocol. He hasn’t read the bill, he doesn’t know his stuff.’

After the dressing down Mr Johnson ‘ran straight out of the chamber seconds after he was utterly exposed and shamed’ tweeted Welsh Labour MP Stephen Doughty, adding the PM ‘Looked broken, weak and incompetent – head bowed, hands folded, muttering.

‘What an embarrassment for our country at such a critical time.’

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