Miliband masters Johnson in clash over Bill to break international law

Speech-less: faced with a barrage of factual accuracy from Ed Miliband, Boris Johnson sat, head bowed, with nothing to say.

Given that Boris Johnson had threatened to withdraw the whip from Tory MPs voting against his Internal Market Bill, one would have expected him to launch a spirited defence of it during the debate.

That expectation may be doubled in the knowledge that he was facing not Keir Starmer, who had run away to self-isolate after one of the children he sent to our “perfectly safe” schools exhibited Covid-19 symptoms, nor Angela Rayner, but Ed Miliband.

Certain commentators were betting on a knockout win for Johnson, against a man who famously botched eating a bacon sandwich.

They were completely wrong. Miliband metaphorically mashed Johnson’s derriere like burger meat and then fed it back to him.

The speech was probably the most golden moment of the political year.

“I have been part of many issues of contention across the Dispatch Box, but I never thought that respecting international law would be a matter of disagreement in my lifetime,” he said.

“As Leader of the Opposition, I stood opposite the Prime Minister’s predecessor David Cameron for five years. I do not know why the Prime Minister is rolling his eyes. I disagreed with David Cameron profoundly on many issues, but I could never have imagined him coming along and saying, “We are going to legislate to break international law” on an agreement that we had signed as a country less than a year earlier. Yet that is what the Bill does, in the Government’s own words.

“Is it right to threaten to break the law in the way the Government propose? Is it necessary to do so? Will it help our country? The answer to each question is no. Let us remember the context and the principle. If there is one thing that we are known for around the world, it is the rule of law.

“This is the country of Magna Carta; the country that is known for being the mother of all Parliaments; and the country that, out of the darkness of the second world war, helped found the United Nations. Our global reputation for rule making, not rule breaking, is one of the reasons that we are so respected around the world. When people think of Britain, they think of the rule of law.”

He continued as follows:

Mr Miliband said: “We respect the fact that the Conservative party, under this Prime Minister, won the election. He got his mandate to deliver his Brexit deal: the thing that he said was—I am sure she recalls this because it was probably on her leaflets—“oven ready”. It is not me who is coming along and saying it is half-baked; it is him. He is saying, “The deal that I signed and agreed is actually—what’s the word? Ambiguous. Problematic.” I will get to this later in my speech, but I wonder whether he actually read the deal in the first place.”

We found out the answer to that, didn’t we?

Here it is:

Boris Johnson has not even read his own Internal Market Bill.

Mr Miliband continued:

He wasn’t even halfway through his speech, and Miliband had destroyed Boris Johnson.

Remember at the top of this article I said Johnson could have been expected to deliver a spirited defence of this Bill?

He didn’t.

He just sat there and took it, shaking his head as though in disbelief.

And by the end, he looked older than his dad.

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