REDDITCH MP Rachel Maclean says she voted in favour of the Internal Market Bill to "protect our rights as a sovereign country to trade freely within our Union".

The controversial bill could change the terms of a Brexit agreement with the EU, which Boris Johnson believes could give Brussels the power to stop food exports from mainland Britain to Northern Ireland.

The treaty was agreed with Europe in December but last week Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis caused consternation in the House of Commons when he admitted the new Bill would break international law in a “limited and specific way”.

Last night (Monday, September 14) the bill was passed in the Commons by 77 votes however a number of Tory backbenchers had already indicated they would not vote.

On Twitter yesterday, Mrs Maclean said: "I pledged to respect the result of the referendum and I have held true to that.

"Tonight I voted for this Bill to protect our rights as a sovereign country to trade freely within our Union."

Boris Johnson says the Bill is an insurance policy should there be no deal with the EU and it should be welcomed by everyone who cares about the sovereignty and integrity of the UK.

All five living former Prime Ministers are among a number of high-profile politicians and lawyers who have expressed reservations about the Bill.