I would like to start by saying that the Government are right to bring this Bill forward. It protects the Union of the United Kingdom, safeguards Northern Ireland and paves the way for the return of many of our laws from Brussels. There has been a lot of talk in the media and from the Opposition about the supposed illegal nature of this Bill if it becomes law, but this Bill does not itself break international law. Many commentators seem to think that passing the Bill means that we are immediately breaching the withdrawal agreement, but the Bill is simply a safeguard in case no trade agreement is reached with the EU. Should Ministers end up using the powers made available to them under this Bill, the withdrawal agreement could indeed be broken, but it is clear that this is very much the last resort.
Let us face it: most EU member states are not squeaky clean on these issues. On Thursday
I have spoken before about this level of hypocrisy, both in this Chamber and to Mr Barnier himself when he appeared before the Committee on the Future Relationship with the European Union. On
The EU does not recognise this hypocrisy, but my constituents do, so if the EU does not like this Bill, there is a very simple solution. It should drop its arbitrary red lines, get around the table in a good spirit and do a trade deal that we can accept. The fact that we have to go to these lengths to protect the Union of the UK further highlights the absurdity of the situation and why we voted to leave. I would urge all Members in this place to put the Union of the United Kingdom above the European Union and pass this Bill tonight.