Defying a looming ultimatum by the European Union, British lawmakers on Tuesday passed a bill to regulate the internal market of the United Kingdom after Brexit. The House of Commons passed the bill by 340 votes to 256, despite deep disquiet even from some members of the ruling Conservatives.

As the Brexit talks between EU and UK, the British government rejected warnings that the new bill could imperil peace in Northern Ireland after US President Donald Trump’s special envoy, Mick Mulvaney, conceded that it could leave the province’s Good Friday Agreement “at risk”.

Senior minister Michael Gove said the bill was “vitally important” to ensure smooth trade among the UK’s four constituent nations, dismissing vociferous objections from Scottish pro-independence MPs as “stories to scare children at bedtime”.

Business spokesman Ed Miliband said for the main opposition labour party that “you know you are in trouble” “when the Trump administration” speaks out to defend international law.

The bill will not go to the upper house of Lords, where it faces opposition after the government admitted that key clauses will violate Britain’s EU divorce treaty, by unilaterally imposing post-Brexit controls on Northern Ireland. However, the law is still expected to become a law in the coming weeks.

The legislative tussle loomed as British and EU negotiators launched their last week of intense discussions ahead of a summit on October 16, where EU leaders will decide whether it is still worth pursuing a trade deal with London.

The EU had insisted that the offending provisions be revoked by Wednesday or it would take Britain to court, adding that the treaty is meant to guarantee a say for the bloc over future trade between Northern Ireland and EU member Ireland.

Despite the economic carnage inflicted by the coronavirus pandemic, Prime Minister Boris Johnson insists the UK is ready to go its own way if necessary after a transition period ends in December, nearly a year after Britain formally left the EU in the wake of a historic referendum.