29 September 2020
Shailesh Vara backs the United Kingdom Internal Market Bill as a necessary safety net

Shailesh Vara backs that the Bill as a necessary safety net and rejects scaremongering that it in some way compromises the Belfast/Good Friday agreement.

Mr Shailesh Vara (North West Cambridgeshire) (Con)

Does the Minister agree that those who object to the clauses he has just mentioned should bear in mind the language that has been used by the EU in recent weeks in terms of what it interprets the Northern Ireland protocol to mean? It has denied the existence, as it is written on the face of the Northern Ireland protocol, of matters such as the internal market, unfettered trade and so on. So these provisions are necessary as a safety net—nothing more than a safety net. I say to the critics, “Just look at the language of the EU” and if they look at the language of the EU, they will see that these measures are perfectly reasonable.

Paul Scully

I am grateful for that, and my hon. Friend is absolutely right. These are reasonable steps to act as a safety net.

In the statement I referred to, the Government also make it clear that

“in parallel with the use of these provisions it would always activate appropriate formal dispute settlement mechanisms with the aim of finding a solution through this route.”



Mr Vara

The fact is that there is nothing in this Bill that in any way compromises the Belfast/Good Friday agreement. Does my right hon. Friend agree that it is deeply regrettable that some people, for political purposes, seek to unnecessarily scaremonger, and that they should desist from doing so?

Alok Sharma

My hon. Friend makes an important point, and I will come on to it. As I was saying, we need to replace the law to continue the smooth functioning of our centuries-old internal market, while also ensuring that devolved Administrations benefit from that power surge from Brussels. The Bill will do precisely that.