The UK Internal Market Bill will ensure continuity and certainty for people and businesses ensuring that businesses in all parts of the UK can continue to trade seamlessly across the country as they do now, protecting jobs and supporting the economy as we recover from coronavirus.
The Bill enshrines the principle of mutual recognition, so goods and services from one part of the UK will be recognised in all parts, and the principle of non-discrimination, so there is equal opportunity for companies trading in the UK, regardless of where they are based.
The Bill is also fundamental to maintaining the integrity of the UK, upholding the public’s decision to leave the EU and preserving the peace in Northern Ireland.
The UK signed up to the Withdrawal Agreement and Northern Ireland Protocol last year in good faith. Our good faith however, is in danger of being broken by the EU’s threats to impose tariffs on goods moving from Great Britain to Northern Ireland and to stop the transport of food products from Great Britain to Northern Ireland, should both sides fail to reach agreement. This is an extreme and aggressive interpretation of the Northern Ireland protocol which would destroy the UK’s economic and territorial integrity. If EU negotiators are willing to use this Protocol in this way, then the Government is willing to defend the Union against them. This is what the United Kingdom Internal Market Bill guarantees.
The Prime Minister has repeatedly made it clear that he wants a good trade deal and a close future relationship with the EU. Indeed, our negotiators are working for a similar trade deal to the one the EU has with Canada, a deal which the EU told the Prime Minister’s predecessor was the deal on the table for the UK.
I support the Prime Minister in these aims and I also support him in the creation of a safety net to ensure the integrity of the UK and the delivery of our commitments to the people of Northern Ireland. As he has told Parliament today, he has ‘absolutely no desire to use these measures; they are an insurance policy’ and that ‘if we reach an agreement, they will never be invoked.’
Whether, and how, to implement our treaty obligations is for Parliament and Parliament alone: a conclusion backed up by parliamentary supremacy – the bedrock of our constitution – and the UK’s ‘dualist’ system which separates domestic and international law. This principle was upheld unanimously by the Supreme Court in R (Miller) v Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union in 2017 and was expressly confirmed in Section 38 of the EU Withdrawal Agreement Act 2020.
As a Member of Parliament, it is my role to safeguard the interests of Great Britain and the British people, that is why I will be supporting the Internal Market Bill.