Boris Johnson has said the UK should reserve the right to cancel the Brexit deal to protect the country’s “economic and political integrity”.
The prime minister said legislation was needed to resolve “tensions” in the EU-UK agreement.
He said this would ensure that the UK could not be “broken” by a foreign power and the EU was acting in an “extreme way”, threatening food exports.
Labor said the prime minister had caused a “mess” by giving up a deal he had previously called a “triumph”.
The Internal Market bill is expected to pass its first parliamentary test soon, when MPs vote on it around 22.00 BST, despite the reservations of many MPs giving the UK the power to break international law.
A number of Conservative MPs have said they will not support the bill as it is now and some may record their concerns by abstaining.
The UK left the EU on 31 January after negotiating and signing the withdrawal agreement with the bloc.
A key part of the agreement – which is now an international treaty – was the Northern Ireland Protocol, designed to prevent the return of a strong border to the island of Ireland.
The Internal Market bill proposed by the government will prevail over that part of that agreement when it comes to the movement of goods between Northern Ireland and Britain and will allow the UK to re-interpret the “state aid” rules on subsidies to firms in Northern Ireland the event when both parties do not agree on a future trade agreement.
Speaking at the start of the five-hour debate, the Prime Minister said the bill should be “welcomed by all” who care about “the sovereignty and integrity of the United Kingdom”.
He said the UK had signed the “finely balanced” withdrawal agreement, including the Northern Ireland Protocol, in “good faith” and was committed to meeting its obligations, including the introduction of “light touch” controls. “in trade between Britain and Northern Ireland.
But he said additional “defense powers” were now needed to hedge against the EU’s “proven willingness” to interpret aspects of the deal in “absurd” ways, “simply to leverage” in trade talks.
“What we can not tolerate now is a situation where our EU counterparts seriously believe they have the power to ruin our country,” he told lawmakers.
“We can not have a situation where the very borders of our country can be dictated by a foreign power or an international organization.”
He also suggested that the EU was threatening not to allow British firms to export products of animal origin to either the mainland or Northern Ireland.
“Absurd and self-destructive as that action would be … The EU has not yet removed this revolver from the table,” he told lawmakers.
However, he tried to reassure MPs that the powers were a “security policy” and that Parliament would be given a vote before they were ever convened, insisting “I have absolutely no desire to use these measures”.
But former Labor leader Ed Miliband, standing in favor of Sir Keir Starmer behind the Labor leader was forced to self-isolate himself at home, said that “the act of passing the law itself” would constitute a violation of international law.
He told lawmakers that the prime minister “could not blame anyone else” after drafting and signing the Brexit agreement himself.
“Dealsht his deal, it’s his mess, it’s his failure,” he said. “For the first time in his life, it ‘s time to take responsibility and take action,” he said. “Either he was not right with the place in the first place or he did not understand it.”
He added: “This is not just legislative hooliganism on any issue, but it is on the most sensitive issue of all.”
Among the Tory MPs to speak were former ministers Andrew Mitchell, Sir Bob Neill and Stephen Hammond, all urging the government to resolve disputes with the EU through the arbitration process in the Agreement.
Conservative MP Charles Walker said the EU was a “neck pain” but urged the government not to “push the nuclear button” before all other options had been exhausted.
“I will not vote for this bill in the second reading because if you continue to shake a dog, do not be surprised when he returns it to you,” he said.
And former Chancellor Sajid Javid has joined the ranks of potential rebels, saying he could not understand why it was necessary to “remove in advance” the withdrawal deal.
“Violation of international law is never a step that should be taken lightly.” he wrote on Twitter.
A senior government source told the BBC “all options are on the table” as to possible action against Tory MPs who do not support the bill.
The bill, which sets out how trade between the various nations of the UK will work after the UK leaves the EU single market on 31 December, is likely to face more difficulties in its later stages. , especially in the House of Lords.
DUP’s Sammy Wilson welcomed the bill, but said his party still had concerns and would introduce changes to “ensure that Northern Ireland is not left in a straightforward state aid jacket and our businesses do not weighed down by unnecessary documents when traded within the UK “.
SNP Ian Blackford said the bill was “the biggest threat” to the ousted government in Scotland since the Scottish Parliament was founded 20 years ago.
“We are discussing the details of a bill which this government accidentally and shamelessly admits to violating international and domestic law,” he said.
Five former prime ministers have raised concerns about the bill, including Boris Johnson’s predecessor Theresa May – who is absent from Monday ‘s debate while on a visit to South Korea.
Speaking earlier Monday, David Cameron said “the passage of an act of Parliament and then the continuation of the breach of an international treaty obligation … should be the absolute final solution”.
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