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Internal Market Bill Passes Despite Former PMs’ Calls For MPs To Reject It

Two former Prime Ministers of the UK had urged MPs to vote against the controversial Internal Market Bill. It has since been passed with a 77-vote majority.

Former Labour leader Tony Blair and former Tory leader Sir John Major described the Government’s latest move as “shaming itself and embarrassing our nation”.

In an article in the Sunday Times, they wrote: “We both opposed Brexit. We both accept it is now happening.

Credit: John Major
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“But this way of negotiating, with reason cast aside in pursuit of ideology and cavalier bombast posing as serious diplomacy, is irresponsible, wrong in principle and dangerous in practice.”

They also questioned how the Bill would impact the way the UK will be perceived: “It raises questions that go far beyond the impact on Ireland, the peace process and negotiations for a trade deal – crucial though they are. It questions the very integrity of our nation.

“As the world looks on aghast at the UK – the word of which was once accepted as inviolable – this Government’s action is shaming itself and embarrassing our nation.”

“We have become so inured to the unending Brexit saga of misinformation and misdirection that the hollow claims, empty promises and emptier threats have lost their power to shock.”

Tony Blair at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland – Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) Copyright by World Economic Forum swiss-image.ch/Photo by Monika Flueckiger

“Yet what is being proposed now is shocking. How can it be compatible with the codes of conduct that bind Ministers, law officers and civil servants deliberately to break treaty obligations?

“As we negotiate new trade treaties, how do we salvage credibility as “Global Britain” if we so blatantly disregard our commitments the moment we sign them?”

Major and Blair then expressed concern over the Bill’s impact on the Good Friday Agreement: “The Government seeks to do so by the extraordinary pretence that breaking international law is necessary to ‘save the Good Friday agreement’, which has given us peace in Northern Ireland for more than two decades and utterly changed the relationship between the UK and its nearest neighbour, the Republic of Ireland.

“We disagree. The Government’s action does not protect the Good Friday Agreement – it imperils it.”

The Bill has since been passed with 340 votes to 263 shortly after 10:30pm on Monday night. 30 Conservative MPs abstained.