MP’s opposing the Internal Market Bill seem to believe the British public should be parading them around the streets in honour on a gilded sedan chair. All whilst draped in a Persil white tunic with an olive branch tattooed on their ankle, acting like they’re some Greek god of international law.
The bill, designed to safeguard the integrity of the UK internal market, does indeed consist of a legal breach of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement in a “very specific and limited way”. But if the MP’s voting against it seriously think that they’ll be applauded for doing so, they really ought to lay off the port, grapes and cheese.
First of all, people would probably prefer to harbour an interest in the history of central heating rather than one surrounding mundane matters of international law. I mean, I’m often guilty of (intentionally) attempting to work a boring political issue into a conversation from time to time. But even I’d steer my chariot dramatically away from drumming up discussion on the UK internal market down the local boozer.
Secondly, how can the likes of Sir Roger Gale (Tory MP for North Thanet) oppose the bill as a “matter of principle” to uphold international law and not be labelled naive? Does he not possess the principle to put the UK and the integrity of its internal market first? If that’s not naivety, it instead must be the case that these opposers are knowingly putting the interests of EU elitists before those of UK people and businesses.
The necessity for this bill is largely in response to the EU threatening to abuse the Northern Ireland Protocol to try and force us to accept their grossly unfair, anti-UK Brexit trade terms. Ultimately, the Protocol states that a joint UK/EU committee is to determine which goods moving from Britain (GB) to Northern Ireland (NI) would be “at risk” of being exported to the EU. The goods classed as “at risk” would therefore have tariffs imposed on them.
However, if no trade agreement is negotiated, then the default position is that tariffs would have to be paid on all goods coming from GB to NI. This is what the EU are threatening to impose on us if we don’t kneel and kiss their feet. They’re effectively holding Northern Ireland hostage, and accepting their pathetic trade terms is the ransom demanded.
In hindsight, we could look back and question why we agreed to this Protocol in the first place seen as it’s caused us so much trouble negotiating. But I suppose we gave the EU the chance to act in good faith during these negotiations. Obviously, we were wrong to. But at least the Government is taking action to rectify the situation and rescue Northern Ireland without having to buckle to a ridiculous EU ransom demand.
The Internal Market Bill will ensure that Northern Ireland will not be bound by EU chains. You can say we’re breaking international law. But you could also say that this bill simply safeguards against parts of an agreement which were already broken. Broken in looking out for the interests of the UK as a unit. I’d much prefer the disorderly breaching international law to achieve the correct result, rather than the orderly complying by international law and achieving the incorrect one.
Even more, those steadfastly against a No Deal Brexit should be getting well behind this bill. The Government signalled it was never going to give into the EU’s terrible trade terms. So without this bill, No (Trade) Deal would be inevitable. But with this bill, the EU’s NI Protocol threats become empty. If passed, this piece of legislation would give the UK the Spartan-esque strength needed to stand a chance of enforcing the EU climbdown. A climbdown required to reach a trade arrangement which is acceptable to both parties.
Finally, I find it funny that the media seem to think that five former PM’s opposing this bill will somehow carry clout with the public. Everyone knows that they all have an axe to grind. Major is a staunch Remoaner. Blair is miffed that he will no longer become President of the EU Commission. Brown is still bitter about not beating the Tories in an election. Cameron remains resentful about Brexit booting him out of office. And May is sour about her abysmal Northern Ireland Backstop being (rightly) scrapped.