Do not hand the EU power to break up Britain, says PM Johnson

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