BORIS Johnson was handed a major headache as his majority was slashed to just 11 last night on a vote over China’s human rights abuses.
Just half a dozen MPs saved the PM’s blushes on the amendment to the trade bill, which would have handed British judges the power to declare a dodgy nation’s actions against minority groups genocide.
It would have handed them the power to scupper, cancel or end trade deals with the likes of China, over their treatment of Uighur muslims.
It comes as the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declared China's actions against the Uighur muslim population a "genocide" and a "crime against humanity."
Rebel Tory MPs failed by a whisker losing by votes 319 to 308 after a passionate debate.But leader of the rebels Sir Iain Duncan-Smith said the government can no longer ignore their calls.
Speaking after the vote, the former Tory leader said: "Today's rebellion shows that the government can no longer ignore calls to bring genocide cases before UK courts.
"We will continue to work on this amendment, taking into account the points made by Members in the House today, and I hope the House of Lords will now ensure an improved amendment returns to the House of Commons.
“The wilful ignorance of alleged genocide and grave human rights abuses in China and elsewhere must stop, we will not sell out our values for trade deals with genocidal states."
But a Whitehall source told The Sun that they would work together to properly call out China.
The source said: “We do absolutely recognise the concerns of the rebels and strength of feeling on this, but ultimately the trade bill isn’t the right place for this. Trade deals are for politicians, not judges.
“We want to work together with Parliamentarians to consider scrutiny arrangements to ensure the House can properly consider issues relating to genocide
“We are totally committed to that dialogue and absolutely understand how important this issue is to lots of people.”
Last week Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab told the House of Commons of the raft of abuses committed in the Chinese region on the minority Muslim population being forced into internment camps for political re-education and forced labour.
He also said torture and forced sterilisation was happening to the population “on an industrial scale”.
But he stopped short of calling the actions genocide.
Earlier in the day Trade Minister Greg Hands risked a blazing row with Britain’s closest allies by suggesting historical genocide would scupper trade deals with Australia and Canada.
Trying to convince MPs to vote against the amendment he said: “There are many problems with the Lord Alton amendment, including the fact that past genocides might be in scope (which could mean Turkey, could even mean Canada or Australia)."
The amendment – if it had passed would have given give the High Court the power to define acts of genocide dropping the bar significantly from the UN.
But the government warn it hands too much power to judges as well as scuppering potential new deals.
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