Boris Johnson has urged MPs to support a bill that modifies the Brexit deal he signed with the EU in January.
The PM said the interior Markets Bill would “ensure the integrity of the united kingdom internal market” and hand power to Scotland and Wales.
He also claimed it might protect the Northern Ireland social process.
Critics say the move will damage the UK’s international standing after a minister admitted the plans break the law of nations.
The Scottish government has not ruled out action to stop it from becoming law.
Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “The Tories’ proposed bill for a so-called UK internal market is an abomination. it’s an unadorned power grab which might cripple devolution.”
The Taoiseach (Ireland’s prime minister) Micheál Martin has spoken to Mr Johnson “in forthright terms” about “the breach of a world treaty, the absence of bilateral engagement and therefore the serious implications for Northern Ireland”, the Irish government said.
Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove will hold emergency talks in London on Thursday with EU Commissioner Maros Sefcovic to debate the contents of the bill.
The European Commission had requested a gathering as soon as possible to clarify what the legislation means for the Brexit deal.
Meanwhile, the newest scheduled round of negotiations on securing a post-Brexit trade affects the EU also are thanks to concluding on Thursday.
Commission President Ursula von der Leyen tweeted: “Very concerned about announcements from the British government on its intentions to breach the Withdrawal Agreement. this is able to break the law of nations and undermines trust.”
Downing Street said the EU Withdrawal Agreement – repeatedly described as “oven-ready” by Mr. Johnson during last year’s election – contained “ambiguities” and lacked clarity in “key areas”.
The PM’s spokesman said it had been agreed “at pace within the most challenging possible political circumstances” to “deliver on a choice by British people”.
It had been signed “on the idea that subsequent agreements to clarify these aspects might be reached”, the spokesman added.
The remit of the bill
The new bill sets out rules for the operation of the united kingdom internal market – trade between England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland – after the top of the Brexit transition period in January.
- No new checks on goods moving from Northern Ireland to the remainder of Great Britain
- Giving UK ministers powers to switch or “disapply” rules concerning the movement of products which will inherit force from 1 January if the united kingdom and EU are unable to succeed in an alternate agreement through a trade deal
- Powers to override previously agreed to obligations on state aid – government support for businesses The bill explicitly states that these powers should apply albeit they’re incompatible with the law of nations.
Ministers say the legislation is required to stop “damaging” tariffs on goods traveling from the remainder of the united kingdom to Northern Ireland if negotiations with the EU on a trade agreement fail.