United Kingdom Internal Market Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 9:32 pm on 14th September 2020.

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Photo of Kate Osborne Kate Osborne Labour, Jarrow 9:32 pm, 14th September 2020

I have been contacted by a number of constituents about the Bill. It is of concern to many in the Jarrow constituency. Whether the constituents of Jarrow voted to leave or remain, the majority of them want the Government to get on with securing the best possible deal with the EU. They want a deal that governs future trade and relations, and one that protects and promotes jobs, employment rights and peace in Northern Ireland. I share that view.

I am disappointed that the Government are stalling over their Brexit deal. It is extremely frustrating, when we were told that the UK and the EU were so close to agreeing an oven-ready Brexit deal and that progress was being made on the outstanding issues. The Prime Minister is willing to tear up the withdrawal agreement in preparation for a no-deal end to the transition period. That would be an absolute disaster. The Government are no strangers to U-turns, but tearing up an international agreement that they negotiated has to be a new low.

We do not have time for this. We are in the middle of a public health emergency and an economic crisis. The Government need to stop frustrating their deal so that we can all focus our efforts on tackling the coronavirus crisis. A competent Government would never have entered into a binding agreement with provisions they intended to go back on. Or did the Government just not read the small print? For the Government to openly flout international law tells me that we are in dangerous territory. Just as the Prime Minister is no stranger to a U-turn, he is no stranger to breaking the law, as we saw last year with the unlawful shutting down of Parliament.

We may need a strong internal market, but this should have been a straightforward piece of legislation. Instead, it has caused chaos in the party of Government, it risks our international reputation and it advocates breaking international law. For those reasons, among others, I cannot support it and will vote against it.