PMQs LIVE: Apologise now! Furious PM demands Starmer withdraws criticism of ...

BORIS JOHNSON is head-to-head with Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer today in Prime Minister's Questions, with the pair clashing over the coronavirus NHS test-and-trace system.

PUBLISHED: 10:58, Wed, Sep 9, 2020 | UPDATED: 12:14, Wed, Sep 9, 2020

Sir Keir hit out at the Prime Minister ahead of today’s debate at noon over his latest COVID-19 restrictions to limit social gatherings to six people as cases of the killer virus continue to rocket. Also on the agenda is Brexit, after Mr Johnson was hit with criticism over controversial plans to override key elements of his Brexit deal with Brussels, in breach of international law.

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MPs reacted angrily after Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis said on Tuesday that legislation to change the Withdrawal Agreement would go against international law in a "very specific and limited way".

Ministers have argued the measures are necessary to ensure "damaging" tariffs are not imposed by "default" on goods travelling from the rest of the UK to Northern Ireland if negotiations with the EU on a free trade agreement fail.

But a series of senior Conservatives have expressed dismay, warning the move risks undermining Britain's standing and reputation as an upholder of international law.

Tobias Ellwood, chairman of the Commons Defence Committee, said that if the Government went through with the changes to the agreement - which secured the UK's departure from the EU in January - it would "lose the moral high ground".

pmqs liveBoris Johnson and Keir Starmer will showdown for this afternoon's PMQs (Image: BBC)

While Tom Tugendhat, Tory chairman of the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, who said Britain had traditionally been the "chief exporter" of the rule of law around the world.

"We have been the single pillar of dependability in international negotiations... which has allowed others to prosper and indeed allowed us to prosper," he told a British Foreign Policy Group think tank event on Tuesday.

"It's not just about the law. Our entire economy is based on the perception that people have of the UK's adherence to the rule of law."

Sir Keir has urged Mr Johnson not to "reopen old wounds" and to get a trade deal with the EU as he criticised the Government's admission it could break international law over Brexit as "wrong".

The Labour leader called on the Prime Minister to return his attention to the coronavirus pandemic by ensuring negotiations with Brussels are successful.

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