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Peers warned not to block Brexit bill as Merkel brands UK a ‘despot’

Peers have been warned by the government not to block its controversial bid to override the Brexit deal, as an ally of Angela Merkel branded the UK a "despot" like North Korea.

Downing Street turned the heat up on the House of Lords ahead of it debating and voting on the legislation that passed a key hurdle in the Commons on Monday – the Internal Market Bill.

It sailed through thanks to Prime Minister Boris Johnson's big majority, but dozens of Tory abstained and two voted against the bill.

Image: Boris Johnson easily won the vote – but still saw a substantial Tory rebellion

One Conservative backbencher has threatened to try and amend it because of concerns about a minister's admission that it breaks international law.

But the bigger showdown is likely to be in the Lords, where even Tory ardent Brexiteers have already expressed their outrage.

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Former chancellor Lord Lamont warned it would not make it through parliament's upper chamber without changes.

And former party leader Lord Howard asked: "How can we reproach Russia or China or Iran when their conduct falls below internationally accepted standards, when we are showing such scant regard for our treaty obligations?"

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But Mr Johnson's spokesman said he "expects the Lords to abide by the Salisbury convention" – a rule that means the House of Lords does not block something included in the governing party's manifesto.

The company is particularly sensitive to trade disruptions
Image: The Internal Market Bill is intended to ensure unrestricted trading across the UK

The spokesman added: "Guaranteeing the full economic benefit of leaving the EU to all parts of the UK and ensuring Northern Ireland's businesses and producers enjoy unfettered access to the rest of the UK were clear Conservative manifesto commitments which this legislation delivers."

After months of relative quiet on the Brexit front, the subject has once again risen up the agenda as the deadline looms for the transition period ending on 31 December 2020.

The House of Lords, London, this evening after MPs overturned House of Lords amendments to a Bill authorising Theresa May to commence Brexit negotiations.
Image: Peers will debate and vote on the bill next week

Mr Johnson said his Internal Market Bill was "critical" to ensuring the free flow of tRead More – Source