UK House of Lords have demanded clarity from the UK Government on the decision-making process behind the new Internal Market Bill.
Peers have expressed concern over the Government’s willingness to ride roughshod over key areas of the Withdrawal Agreement.
The Internal Market Bill, the legislation at the heart of the argument, is currently being examined by MPs in a bid to ascertain the extent at which it will allow the Government to breach previous agreements made over the Northern Ireland border.
However, Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has agreed to table an amendment to the bill with would see parliament given the power to vote on any use of the bills powers prior to the Government breaching the Withdrawal Agreement.
A number of aspects within the bill have raised questions in the upper house and communication has been sent to Cabinet Office Minister, Michael Gove, for clarification.
Lord Kinnoull, chairman of the committee, said: “We raised a lot of concerns with the Government in our report back in June over the lack of clarity on the Northern Ireland Protocol. The Government has yet to provide much of that clarity, and now the UK Internal Market Bill, in particular Part 5, has thrown up even bigger questions over the UK’s approach to implementation of the protocol.”
He added, “The Government’s paramount goal must be to protect peace and stability in Northern Ireland.”
Kinnoull continued, saying, “The protocol’s stated aim is to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland and to protect the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement, while respecting the territorial integrity of the UK. Given that the Government has now said that it is prepared to break the agreement on the protocol, we need to be absolutely clear about why it is doing this. This is an urgent matter as time is short.”
A request has been made that all outstanding questions be answer clearly by 25th September to ascertain what next steps should be taken.
Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission has said that she still believes a trade deal can be reached in the time prior to the transition period ending. However, both sides have admitted that for that to happen, an agreement in principal would have to be reached by October.
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