Ministers have admitted Boris Johnson‘s proposals to override parts of the Withdrawal Agreement would break international law, sparking a rebellion by Conservative backbenchers.
The rebels want Parliament to have the ability to veto any move by the Prime Minister to depart from the accord agreed with the EU last year – a so-called ‘parliamentary lock’.
Mr Buckland said this morning he believed the original plans could be made ‘acceptable to all Conservative colleagues’ in a sign that ministers are willing to shift on the issue to win over their Tory critics.
His comments came as Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab prepares to meet US Speaker Nancy Pelosi in Washington today to assuage her Brexit concerns.
Ms Pelosi said last week there would be ‘absolutely no chance’ of Congress passing an American trade deal with the UK if the PM’s Brexit plans ‘imperilled’ the Good Friday Agreement.
Meanwhile, a group of four senior US congressmen have written to Mr Johnson to express a similar sentiment as they urged him to ‘abandon’ any proposals which could undermine the peace process.
Justice Secretary Robert Buckland today hinted the Government could compromise on its Brexit plans to win over Tory rebels
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab is in Washington today for talks with US counterpart Mike Pompeo and US Speaker Nancy Pelosi with Brexit expected to feature heavily
Ms Pelosi warned last week there will be no US/UK trade deal if the Government’s Brexit plans jeopardise the Good Friday Agreement
The Government sparked a furious row with the EU after it published its UK Internal Market Bill last week.
The legislation will enable the UK to unilaterally make decisions on key issues, like customs arrangements between mainland Britain and Northern Ireland, contained within the Withdrawal Agreement.
Brussels is adamant that the decisions must be made by a joint committee made up of people from both sides – as set out in the treaty.
But the Government argues its new proposals are necessary in order to protect the integrity of the UK should the two sides be unable to agree terms.
Tory rebels have put forward an amendment to the legislation which would create a ‘parliamentary lock’ on any attempt by the Government to try to depart from the Brexit divorce deal.
A vote on the amendment is scheduled to take place next Tuesday but Mr Buckland today suggested the Government could move on the issue in order to stop the rebellion.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘I think that the issue is this. We want to make sure that if we hit a situation where we have this sort of dislocation, this sort of crisis if you like, that we can act swiftly to bring in to power the necessary regulations.