The Somerset Guardian, 16th September 2020

This week, the Government won a vote on its Internal Market Bill, which will give it the authority to override parts of the Brexit agreement with the European Union (EU). 

The Bill will extend powers to all areas of the UK and ensure that businesses can continue to trade across our country as they do now, avoiding new barriers and enabling jobs to be protected. This is something that is essential to supporting our fiscal recovery from the Coronavirus pandemic.

The Government signed up to the Withdrawal Agreement and Northern Ireland Protocol last year in good faith. It took us out of the EU and brought to an end to unprecedented political deadlock. However, in spite of the Prime Minister’s significant efforts to iron out all difficulties, tensions regarding Northern Ireland - ensuring that peace, security and good governance continue - still remain.

When the UK agreed to the Protocol the Government had hoped that these contradictions would be resolved in the presiding Joint Committee.  It was willing to sign based on a transaction of trust with the EU. Yet, as the transition period is coming to an end that hope now has to be tempered with the reality that the Joint Committee may come to an unfavourable decision or none whatsoever.

As a result, while talks continue, implementing such legislation is what any responsible government would do and contrary to certain discourse, it is not unprecedented for Parliament to consider law-making that has the potential to override treaty obligations, which ultimately seek to protect the interests of the UK.

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