LONDON (Reuters) – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson criticized the EU on Monday after receiving preliminary parliamentary approval of a plan to violate the UK's withdrawal agreement. Johnson said the move is necessary as the EU refuses to compromise on trade negotiations.
The prime minister won a high-profile parliamentary vote that tentatively approved the domestic market bill with a score of 340 to 263. Parliament recently rejected an amendment that could have ruined the plan, but others will follow as the British prime minister faces growing resistance within his party.
The EU last week called on the UK to urgently abandon its intentions to violate the terms of the withdrawal agreement, but the government of Prime Minister Boris Johnson is pushing for a bill that could nullify the results of four years of Brexit negotiations.
Johnson said there was a need to counter Brussels' “absurd” threats, including a demand that London establish trade barriers between Britain and Northern Ireland and impose a food blockade, steps he said threaten Britain's unity.
“The EU has not yet removed this revolver from the table,” Johnson said in parliament ahead of the vote. “We cannot tolerate a situation where our EU partners seriously believe that they have the power to destroy our country.”
The European Union has demanded that by the end of September London withdraw the main parts of the bill on the domestic market, otherwise there will be no post-Brexit trade deal. This will affect all areas of trade between Britain and the EU, from auto parts to food.
(Elizabeth Piper, William James, with contributions from Hugh Jones, Katie Holton, Estelle Shirbon, Alistair Smout and Andrew McAskill. Translated by Elizaveta Zhuravleva. Editor Anna Kozlova)