14 September 2019 | UK NEWS
The Government’s new and controversial Internal Market Bill is set to be given a second reading in Parliament today.
The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster has defended the controversial Internal Market Bill, saying that it protects the “integrity” of the UK.
The Bill aims to give UK Minister the power to control trade protocols and state aid in Northern Ireland in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
Critics of the Bill say that it breaks international law, which was backed up by Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis in the Commons. He said it would break international law “in a very specific and limited way”, although this argument has itself been rebuffed by some other commentators.
Included in the Withdrawal Agreement is the Northern Ireland Protocol, which aims to prevent a hard border being put up in Ireland. The Internal Market Bill, according to some critics, would break this provision.
The Bill also explicitly states that, should it contradict any international law stipulations, it would still stand:
“Regulations under section 42(1) or 43(1) are not to be regarded as unlawful on the grounds of any incompatibility or inconsistency with relevant international or domestic law.” (Part 5, Section (45 2a))
However, Michael Gove said that the Bill was an “insurance policy”, should the UK not conclude a deal with the EU. He also maintained that the UK was being “proportionate and generous” in its negotiations with the EU.
Mr Gove said: “These steps are a safety net. They’re a long-stop in the event – which I don’t believe will come about but we do need to be ready for – that the EU follow through on what some have said they might do, which is, in effect, to separate Northern Ireland from the rest of the United Kingdom.”
He also claimed that “we have got the support of our own MPs” for the vote on the Bill.
If this Bill successfully passes through Parliament, the UK would have to agree a deal within five weeks, after Prime Minister Boris Johnson set a deadline for 15th October.