Brexit: Internal Market Bill clears first hurdle in Commons

Daniel Fowler
September 15, 2020

Mr Johnson said some on the EU side even wanted to designate all goods moving from Britain to Northern Ireland as being "at risk" of entering the EU single market, making them liable to EU tariffs.

Speaking in the House of Commons on Monday evening, Johnson said the bill was "a package of protective powers" that was "essential to guaranteeing the integrity and sovereignty of the UK" and pinned the blame for needing it on the EU's "extreme" approach and "lack of common sense".

The bloc is demanding that he withdraw the offending parts of the new bill by the end of September or risk no trade deal at the end of the year to cover everything from food to auto parts.

Former chancellor Sajid Javid and former attorney general Geoffrey Cox were among those who made clear they would not support the Bill in its current form.

British lawmakers on Monday backed a new bill that would override parts of the Brexit treaty struck with the European Union previous year, despite outrage in Brussels and alarm at home over such an overt breach of worldwide law.

All of Britain's living former prime ministers have expressed concern about his plan as have many senior figures in his Conservative Party.

"Having carefully studied the UK Internal Market Bill it is not clear to me why it is necessary to do so".

The Prime Minister said the legislation was necessary to prevent the European Union taking an "extreme and unreasonable" interpretation of the provisions in the Withdrawal Agreement relating to Northern Ireland.

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However, although the Johnson government wants to fast-track the law so that it can be on the statute in the event that an EU-UK trade pact is not finalised before the end of 2020, it is likely to face difficulties in the House of Lords, where Conservative lawmakers are in a minority.

"It will protect the territorial integrity of the United Kingdom and the peace in Northern Ireland, safeguarding trade and jobs across all four corners of the United Kingdom following the end of the transition period".

Johnson temporarily halted the deadlock by sealing a divorce deal with Brussels late past year, which he used to win a thumping 80-seat victory in a December general election.

Downing Street last week claimed the Brexit deal was agreed "at pace" and the problems with the aspects of the treaty regarding Northern Ireland were unforeseen.

He acknowledged some personal "unease" at giving ministers powers to override the Brexit treaty but said they would not be needed if a trade deal was agreed as hoped with Brussels.

But opposition Labour spokesman Ed Miliband ridiculed the idea.

"Either he wasn't straight with the country about the deal in the first place or he didn't understand it", Mr Miliband said. This is his deal, it's his mess, it's his failure.

The controversial intention to break the agreement caused uproar among parts of the Conservative Party with Tory MP Rehman Chishti stepping down in an act of protest on Monday as the prime minister's special envoy on freedom of religion. A deal is only probable very late in the day now and hence any short-term GBP bounce will not last with potential big GBP declines still to come, according to MUFG Bank. I'll very happily give way to him.

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