The Prime Minister is facing a revolt from dozens of Tory MPs over plans that would break international law and allow him to renege on parts of his Brexit deal.
In the House of Lords, a series of grandees, including Brexiteers such as Lord Howard and ex-chancellor Lord Lamont, have also savaged the UK Internal Market Bill.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman told a briefing of Westminster journalists: “It is correct that the PM will be speaking to Conservative MPs later on this afternoon about the UKIM Bill.
“He will reiterate the UK’s commitment to implementing the Northern Ireland protocol and the joint committee process with the hope that an agreement remains possible within that framework
“He will also be setting out that as a responsible government we must provide a safety net that removes any ambiguity and ensure that the government can always deliver on its commitments to the people of Northern Ireland.”
Asked if the PM was alarmed by public comments made by some Tories, he replied: “He set out at the despatch box earlier in the week why this bill is necessary and it’s an opportunity to have some further engagement on what is a very important issue to ensure that we do have that safety net in place to protect the integrity of the United Kingdom.”
Sir Bob Neill, the chairman of the Justice Select Committee, is leading an amendment that would bar the government from overriding the withdrawal agreement (WA) without parliament’s support. The WA is the deal that Mr Johnson signed in January that set rules for Britain’s departure from the EU.
Former Conservative Party leader Lord Howard of Lympne has warned the plans will damage Britain’s global standing.
Lord Howard said this morning said he would be “very surprised” if Mr Johnson’s Bill got through the Lords.
Former Tory leaders Sir John Major and Theresa May have also attacked the Bill.
Business minister Nadim Zahawi claimed in interviews that the Bill was necessary to prevent “harms” being inflicted on the UK.