PM’s Brexit bill clears Commons

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Boris Johnson’s Brexit bill has cleared its final Commons hurdle.

The Bill, which passed its third reading by 340 votes to 256 – a Government majority of 84, will now go to the House of Lords.

It gives the Government the power to override provisions in the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement – the “divorce” settlement with Brussels relating to Northern Ireland.

Ministers argue the measures are necessary to provide a “legal safety net” to protect the Northern Ireland peace process if Britain fails to get an agreement on a post-Brexit free trade deal with the EU.

Ministers were able to defuse a wider Tory rebellion after they agreed to amend the legislation to require a Commons vote before the provisions relating to Northern Ireland could be activated.

Negotiations on a free trade deal continue this week in the Belgian capital headed by Michel Barnier for the EU and Britain’s Lord Frost.

Both sides have acknowledged that time is running out, and that agreement needs to be in place by mid-October.

Mr Johnson has said that he is prepared to walk away from the negotiating table if it cannot be settled by the EU summit on October 15 as it will be too late to implement before the end of the current Brexit transition period at the end of the year.

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