Update from your Member of Parliament

You may like to read a statement from our Local MP explaining the current situation in Brexit negotiations:-

“Ahead of my usual monthly update on local issues I wanted to update you on the crucial votes happening in Parliament over the next few days.

In the week ahead we have one of the most significant pieces of legislation starting to make its way through parliament since the General Election, in the form of the UK internal market bill (UKIM). This is the bill you will have read about in the media which says that the Government will be breaking the law by overturning the withdrawal deal we signed to leave the EU.

However I want to make sure you are aware of some of the facts not being set out in the media.

When the PM renegotiated Theresa Mays deal, he took out the dreaded backstop which kept Northern Ireland aligned with the EU and effectively broke up the United Kingdom. Instead outstanding issues around the NI situation were left aside to be later thrashed out by the Joint Committee set to oversee what is called the Northern Ireland Protocol. If in the event of a free trade agreement between us and the EU this Northern Ireland Protocol would not be needed. However as time marches on it is increasingly likely that it will be needed. Disappointingly though the joint committee, which is made up of UK and EU representatives, cannot come to an agreement on NI. In the withdrawal agreement the UK agreed that NI would stay in the EU single market but remain in the UK customs union. However the EU wont’t accept this now and say NI must be both within the EU single market and customs union.

This would effectively break up the UK and is is a step too far and so the PM wants to bring in the UK internal market bill to ensure that NI remains in the UK customs union in the event of a deal not being agreed with the EU. Without this trade between the rest of the UK and NI would be subject to export declarations and tariffs. Would we accept this between Manchester and Birmingham? 

If we accept this proposal from the EU it would not only lead to the break up of the union but it would also jeopardise the Good Friday Agreement and peace in Northern Ireland as the Unionist community could never accept this.

While the UKIM legislation will change the withdrawal agreement so too would the EU proposal to take NI out of the UK customs union.

On Monday the bill will get it’s second reading and during the rest of the week will be in committee stage where we will have several late night sittings thrashing this out. Preserving the Union is a red line for the Government. 

Ideally we won’t need this legislation as, for all sides, a free trade agreement would be the best outcome but this is an insurance policy in case that does not happen. We need the EU to also honour its commitment in the withdrawal agreement to allow Northern Ireland to stay in the UK customs market should a deal not be agreed. 

I will update you on events in Parliament when I send out my usual monthly e-news next week .”