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Boris Johnson is facing a rebellion from his own Mps. (Photo: Leon Neal via PA Wire/PA Images)
Boris Johnson is facing a major Tory rebellion over the government’s plans to rip up the Northern Ireland protocol.
The controversial legislation, which seeks to unilaterally amend the deal the prime minister agreed with the European Union after Brexit, will be introduced to the House of Commons tomorrow.
Critics claim the move will break international law - an accusation firmly rejected by Northern Ireland secretary Brandon Lewis.
It has now emerged that Conservative MPs are gearing up to vote against the bill, in another blow to the prime minister’s authority just days after he saw off an attempt to remove him from office.
A document being shared among Tory backbenchers sets out their opposition to the legislation, which they say risks a trade war with the EU and is also a threat to the Union itself.
“Breaking international law to tear up the prime minister’s own treaty is damaging to everything the UK and Conservatives stand for,” the document says.
The rebels say the bill is “the exact opposite of focusing on the cost of living and pursuing the people’s priorities, as we have been promised” and should be scrapped.
They say the PM should instead put “maximum pressure on the EU” to re-negotiate the protocol, rather than acting unilaterally.
And they add: “It is time to return to a Conservative way forward: acting with integrity, respecting the treaties we sign, strengthening not weakening our precious Union, backing business and honouring the democratic we promised to Northern Ireland on the protocol. This bill should be withdrawn.”
A Number 10 source told HuffPost UK: “The message to Tory MPs is always the same - please support government policy.”
Meanwhile, Westminster insiders also forecast the legislation will get “a rough ride” in the House of Lords, with peers trying to amend the bill.
But one source said: “Despite Johnson’s travails, the government clearly still has a decent working majority that it can use to overturn amendments, plus a deep well of Tory votes in the Lords that it can draw on in an emergency.”
This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.