Over the past few weeks I have been contacted by many constituents who are deeply concerned about the implications of the United Kingdom Internal Market Bill.
This Bill is hugely damaging to the UK. It undermines the Withdrawal Agreement with the EU, signed by Boris Johnson just a few months ago, it reopens the discussions about the Northern Ireland Protocol which had previously been settled, and it breaches international law, gravely damaging our global reputation as a law-abiding nation.
I will always stand up for the pro-EU views and values of my constituents in Dulwich and West Norwood who voted overwhelmingly to remain in the EU, and I am bitterly disappointed that the UK left the European Union on 31 January. It is now crucial that the Government focuses on negotiating a comprehensive trade deal with the EU to protect our economy, food safety, employment rights, environmental standards and animal welfare.
Unfortunately, the Tory Government seems more focused on seeking to pick apart the existing Withdrawal Agreement and there is no sign of the ‘oven ready deal’ Boris Johnson promised during last year’s general election campaign. This not only undermines our relationship with our European neighbours, but increases the risk of no deal and calls into question how any of our international allies can ever trust the word of the UK government again. It also diminishes our ability to play a leadership role as a force for progressive change in the world.
We need a trade deal with Europe which reflects our country’s desire for high standards in employment, consumer, environmental, food safety and animal welfare rights. Instead of reopening old wounds, undermining the UK’s reputation internationally and making crucial trade negotiations more difficult, the Government should concentrate on positively concluding a deal with the EU.
At a time when our economy has been devastated by the impacts of Covid-19, it is wholly irresponsible for the Government to risk falling out of the transition period without a deal. Businesses and workers across the country desperately need Boris Johnson to agree a deal with the EU, provide clarity about our trading arrangements from January and to focus on protecting the UK’s health and economy from the pandemic.
By reneging on the Northern Ireland Protocol established in the Withdrawal Agreement, the Bill puts at risk all of the protections against a hard border on the island of Ireland, with all of the destabilising implications for the finely balanced Good Friday Agreement.
I voted against this damaging Bill in the House of Commons, and I will continue to oppose the Tories reckless and irresponsible approach to Brexit, fight for a deal with the EU which protects jobs, food, environment and animal welfare standards, and champion the progressive, internationalist views and values of the residents of Dulwich and West Norwood.