20 October 2020
The House of Lords has today [Tuesday 20 October] passed an amendment to the Internal Market Bill regretting the provisions which, if enacted “would undermine the rule of law and damage the reputation of the United Kingdom.”
The regret motion was put forward by Lord Judge, an ex-Lord Chief Justice for England and Wales and passed by a majority of 226.
Baroness Jenny Jones, a Green Party peer, said:
“The scale of the government defeat does not surprise me, as the Lords is packed with judges and bishops who take a dim view of the government deliberately breaking international law.
“I enjoyed hearing the tough speeches from Tory Lords like Michael Howard and Kenneth Clarke. This is not a question of being pro-Brexit, or a Remainer, as opposition to government law-breaking is coming from all sides.
“The government are not defending the Good Friday Agreement, as this Bill gives Ministers the power to by-pass Parliament in modifying or disapplying the Northern Ireland Protocol. Nor are government defending parliamentary sovereignty, as it was Parliament which recently voted for Boris Johnson’s deal that had been sold to people at the General Election and which this Bill tries to unpick.
“The Internal Market Bill is part of the government’s executive power grab and the main losers will be the devolved nations and regions. If the Lords are unsuccessful in amending this legislation, then our neighbours won’t trust us and Northern Ireland will start to dominate our headlines for all the wrong reasons.
“If this Bill cannot be sufficiently amended, then the Lords must act as guardians of the constitution by rejecting the Bill in its entirety.”