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Brexit LIVE: Boris makes late-night call to rebels to save bill – 'No chance it'll pass!'


The controversial legislation will give the Government power to override the section of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement known as the Northern Ireland protocol. The Bill was comfortably passed by MPs, by 340 votes to 263 – but the next stages will not be as straightforward.

BBC Political Editor Laura Kuenssberg tweeted: “PM had a call with Tory peers tonight to try to assuage their fears about the bill.

“Bill sailed thro Commons today, but next week with amendments won’t be so easy, and Lords are gearing up for a fight – one Cabinet minister admitted there is no chance of it getting past the red benches as it stands.”

Some Tory backbenchers are deeply uncomfortable because by the admission of Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis, the Bill breaches international law.

The European Union has demanded Mr Johnson withdraws the legislation by the end of the month.

During last night’s debate, Mr Johnson told the Commons the Bill was an “insurance policy” aimed at preventing the EU from interpreting aspects of the agreement in “absurd” ways.

He added: “What we cannot tolerate now is a situation where our EU counterparts seriously believe they have the power to break up our country,” he told MPs.

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


7.36am update: Union warns of “chaos and confusion”

The 46-page report, dated last week, says an essential IT system used by hauliers will not be tested publicly until the end of November, one month before the UK’s transition phase with Brussels ends.

Leading union Unite warned on Monday that Britain’s ports would be plunged into “chaos and confusion” in the new year unless customs systems and lorry parks are completed.

The union said lorry drivers feared the complex computer software to deal with customs would not be ready by December 31, adding most of the planned lorry parks were still to be built.

The latest developments come as Boris Johnson’s controversial plan to override key elements of the Brexit deal he signed with Brussels cleared its first Commons hurdle despite deep misgivings by some senior Tories.

7.31am update: Government “ready for worst case scenario”

The Government has admitted it is preparing for the “reasonable worst case” scenario ahead of Brexit as a leaked report warned of queues of 7,000 lorries in Kent and significant delays to cross into the EU.

A confidential document prepared by the Border and Protocol Delivery Group, and seen by The Guardian, also predicts thousands of passengers could have to wait an additional two hours for Eurostar trains.

However, a Cabinet Office spokeswoman said in a statement the Government was using a “stretching scenario” as opposed to a prediction.

She said: “As a responsible government we continue to make extensive preparations for a wide range of scenarios, including the reasonable worst case.

“This is not a forecast or prediction of what will happen but rather a stretching scenario. It reflects a responsible government ensuring we are ready for all eventualities.”


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