UK MPs endorse controversial internal market bill

The EU flag hangs at the Europe House in London on September 29.

British MPs in the House of Commons on Tuesday (September 29th) approved a controversial bill from Boris Johnson’s government on the internal market. This text, which provides for possible exemptions from the divorce agreement negotiated with the Europeans, was approved by 340 votes to 253. It will now be debated in the House of Lords.

This green light is no surprise, given the overwhelming majority the Prime Minister has in the House of Commons, despite criticism from five former prime ministers and part of the ruling Conservatives.

To appease the anger within its camp, the government had accepted an amendment giving more power to the Parliament to control the controversial provisions, without satisfying Brussels, which threatened a legal action for lack of withdrawal by the end of September. .

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An exit without agreement

Because the text contradicts, in fact, several points of the agreement concluded to regulate the exit of the United Kingdom from the European Union (EU) and ratified by the two parties at the beginning of the year. It returns to certain provisions for the province of Northern Ireland, planned to avoid the return of a border with the Republic of Ireland, a safeguard considered essential to the maintenance of peace on the island.

London recognizes that this text partly violates international law, but the Prime Minister justifies it by the need, he said, to protect the British province from “Ambiguities” present in the texts negotiated with Brussels.

The Europeans, who have accelerated their preparations for a no-deal exit as negotiations on future relations, especially trade, with the United Kingdom are sluggish, are calling for the bill to be completely withdrawn.

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For the Twenty-Seven, it is a blow to mutual trust in the critical phase of negotiations on the future relationship, led by Michel Barnier on the European side and David Frost on the British side. London and the Twenty-Seven have set themselves a goal, that of reaching a free trade agreement in October to avoid a “No deal” potentially devastating economically on 1er next january.

Le Monde with AFP and Reuters


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