Boris’s Internal Market Bill Compromise

The short lived and not entirely successful rebellion over the UK Internal Market Bill has ended with a conciliatory compromise – to set in law the ability of MPs to hold a vote before ministers could deploy the provisions in it that, if enacted, arguably would breach international law. The deal was struck yesterday evening between Downing Street, rebel commander Bob Neill, and Damian Green. To Guido it doesn’t seem like much of a climbdown, given that Boris said as much in Monday’s debate…

“The passing of this Bill does not constitute the exercising of these powers… If the powers were ever needed, Ministers would return to this House with a statutory instrument on which a vote—perhaps this is the question to which the hon. Gentleman is awaiting an answer—would be held.

The Government will table two amendments to its own Bill on Tuesday, firstly a redrafted version of the Neill Amendment – setting in stone the need for a parliamentary vote beyond the requirements of ordinary statutory instruments, and secondly a clause to prevent significant litigation of the enactment of the controversial provisions. Tightening up the ability to deploy with the consent of the House.

Of course, the Government insists it still does not want to have to use these powers of last resort. But now it will have them in case the EU don’t offer concessions…

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