Speaking in the House of Commons this week in the Second Reading Debate on the Internal Markets Bill, Steve McCabe MP (Birmingham Selly Oak) said MPs were being asked to risk the UK reputation and ability to negotiate or seek to enforce any future treaty or trade deal.
The Government have introduced the United Kingdoms Internal Market Bill which they have acknowledged in Parliament openly breaks international law and will frustrate the process of getting a deal with the EU. The Prime Minister negotiated and signed this deal himself but is now saying it contains serious problems that could break up our country. That is a monumental admission of failure.
The Government are seeking to make changes to the Northern Ireland Protocol which avoided the need for regulatory or customs checks on goods moving between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland (The Hard Border). The NI Protocol aimed to protect the integrity of the EU internal market, by ensuring that any products entering it comply with EU standards and pay the appropriate customs duties. As a result, Northern Ireland was required to apply EU customs rules on goods entering NI from Great Britain, and align with a list of single market regulations. Now at a critical time in UK/EU trade talks and at a time of an ongoing pandemic the Government have chosen to go back on its word and use this legislation to rip-up parts of that agreement and in doing so threaten the chances of getting Brexit done and putting at risk jobs and manufacturing across the country.
Britain’s greatness is built upon our values and the fact we have long stood up for the rule of law. Boris Johnson wants to throw all that away by disregarding an international treaty he personally negotiated and signed, undermining Britain’s standing in the world.
Labour is clear, this is not about leave versus remain. That debate is over – we have left the EU. This is about Britain’s reputation, not Brexit. And about protecting devolution – anyone who remembers the troubles knows that we cannot take chances with Northern Ireland and should not risk the security provided by the Good Friday Agreement.