A CONTROVERSIAL trade bill has been passed by MPs despite it breaking international law.

The UK Internal Market bill passed in the Commons tonight by 340 votes in favour, and 263 against.

HeraldScotland: Camley's Cartoon: Trade Bill passes first hurdleCamley's Cartoon: Trade Bill passes first hurdle

The debate was fiery from both sides, with the SNP and many Welsh MPs arguing it would snatch power from their governments.

Ed Miliband also humiliated Boris Johnson by challenging him to reference which part of the bill would protect Northern Ireland and stop any alleged ‘blockades’ by the EU of goods coming from the country to Great Britain.

The Prime Minister declined to take up the offer, but defended the bill by saying it was an insurance policy against any potential use of the Northern Ireland Protocol by the EU to block free movement of goods.

It is now set to be debated further over four days, with Mike Russell, the Scottish Government’s constitution secretary, coming before the Commons tomorrow.

Lib Dem MP Jamie Stone accused the Prime Minister of being "totally inadequate" following the vote. 

He said: "A short-term win for Boris, but at what a price.

“This false win doesn’t even begin to paper over a situation where a deeply divided government is now staring into the abyss of a United Kingdom which is in the gravest peril of being broken up, entirely because an ignorant and totally inadequate Prime Minister is fiddling about with a shoddy Bill - a u-turn on his own deal - instead of being a proper leader in desperate times.”

The Conservatives hit out at Labour MPs who voted against the legislation. 

Amanda Milling MP, Co-Chairman of the Conservative Party, said: “People will be appalled that when presented with another opportunity to stand up for the integrity of the United Kingdom, Labour yet again chose to side with the European Union.

“Our UK Internal Market Bill protects the Union and ensures we can preserve peace in Northern Ireland, whereas Labour just followed their instinct to side with Brussels again.

“We will always work to ensure the UK continues to thrive, as we deliver on our manifesto promise to ensure unfettered trade across the whole United Kingdom.”

The UK Government welcomed the passing of the bill, saying it now had to be made into law before the end of the year. 

A spokeswoman said: "We welcome the fact that this vital Bill has passed its second reading.

"It will protect the territorial integrity of the UK and the peace in Northern Ireland, safeguarding trade and jobs across all four corners of the UK following the end of the Transition Period.

"It is critical that we pass this Bill before the end of the year.”

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