FILE PHOTO: Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during a virtual news conference on the ongoing situation with the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), at Downing Street, London, Britain September 9, 2020. Stefan Rousseau/Pool via REUTERS

LONDON (Reuters) – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged parliament on Monday not to hand the European Union the opportunity to break up Britain, calling on lawmakers to back a bill that his government has admitted would breach a Brexit deal.

“What we cannot do now is tolerate a situation where our EU counterparts seriously believe that they have the power to break up our country,” Johnson said, accusing the bloc of threatening Britain with a food blockade and describing the bill as a safety net.

“We do not relish the prospect of having to use these powers, at all. We hope very much … that the EU will be reasonable.”

Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge, writing by Elizabeth Piper; Editing by Andrew MacAskill



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