SDLP Leader Colum Eastwood has described the terms of the UK Internal Market Bill as a significant breach of international obligations under the Withdrawal Agreement.
The Foyle MP rejected the Northern Ireland Secretary’s characterisation of the bill as a ‘limited and specific’ breach of international law and said that it will confer ‘pariah state’ status on Boris Johnson’s government.
Said Mr Eastwood: “The UK Internal Market Bill represents a severe abdication of the clear obligations that this government freely undertook less than a year ago.
“It is not simply a ‘limited and specific’ breach of international law but offers sweeping unilateral powers of interpretation that fundamentally and fatally undermine not just the Ireland protocol but any trust between negotiating parties.
“This piece of law, in its current state, will confer pariah state status on Boris Johnson’s government, putting to rest any argument about the value of free trade agreements with other countries because no one will want to deal with a man or a government with such an adversarial relationship with the truth.
“Senior members of the United States Congress have already indicated as much.
“People, businesses and communities in Northern Ireland need certainty about our economic future.
“This Bill leaves that future in the hands of Ministers who have demonstrated consistently that they do not have our interests at heart.
“The SDLP is studying the Bill and will work in coalition with progressive parties at Westminster to undo the immense damage threatened here.”