The UK Internal Market bill which in principle is designed to underpin the integrity of the UK’s internal market (between the areas with devolved administrations namely: Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales) through ‘mutual recognition’ and ‘non-discrimination’ provisions to ensure that additional barriers affecting trade are not erected between the constituent nations of the UK. These provisions range from ensuring that qualifications are recognised UK-wide to service providers being able to operate anywhere in the UK once they are given authorisation to operate in any one part of the UK. Basically making sure that policy difference between the devolved administrations do not lead to trade and business hampering rule divergences.
Let us first of all examine the opposition to the bill. It is often cited in the media that FIVE former Prime Ministers, reds and blues, are against this move. John Major and Tony Blair teamed up to call it ‘shocking’ and ‘shameful’, Gordon Brown also piped in calling it ‘self-harm’. Colourful. David Cameron talked of having ‘misgivings’, Theresa May’s abstained on the first vote. Other than the obvious fact that these prominent voices are all remain voters who could not and would not see through Brexit, these has-beens for the most part resigned or even lost elections off the back of being unable to progress with the British people, having their finger off the pulse, at odds with the majority. This, I argue, is the case presently.
Nancy Pelosi, the leader of the US House of Representatives, suggested it may block a future UK-US trade deal, implying that we threaten peace in Northern Ireland with this legislation. Perhaps she should take care of her own House and get it in order before passing such a crude judgement. The American people are suffering from the deadlock that she has instigated.
I imagine the devocrats operating the devolved administrations in Wales and Scotland take particular issue with this bill not least for its clarification of state aid rules. Ensuring that state aid provision is exclusively the prerogative of the UK government, centrally as opposed to being devolved further. I take issue with the devolution of this power as it poses the question; where should it end? Should the local council be able to produce capital to prop up each and every local business? Central control of this magic wand is the way, if the wand is to be used at all…
So who is throwing their support behind it then?
Other than our government and the Prime Minister whom, Nota bene: provided us with a reasoned explanation of the bill’s necessity and importance which was largely ignored in favour of Ed Miliband’s sound bite riddled rebuttal. I urge you to watch Boris’ commons piece for yourselves.
The DUP leader in the House of Commons; Sammy Wilson went quite far, labelling opponents of the bill ‘EU agents’ and being more ‘EU than British’, arguing that the legislation is there to ‘defend the people of the United Kingdom’ and ‘to defend the union’. Hark back to when those on the Labour and opposition benches cited the DUP’s frustrations with the withdrawal agreement (May’s and Boris’) as reason to doubt the government’s commitment to the union. Those voices are silent now, of course.
Heading back out abroad, might I say thank goodness for US secretary of state Mike Pompeo for trusting us on this asserting that he is ‘confident they [The UK] will get it right’. That’s the kind of attitude we need from our allies as we embark on this journey.
This bill is not holding a gun to the EU’s head as it has been described, this legislation equates to buying the gun and now Boris is offering parliament control over the trigger. A remarkable compromise indeed, thus I would argue that there need be no fear in any members’ minds when deciding whether to give the bill their support next week.