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Oppose the Internal Market Bill | Write to your MP (model letter)

September 15, 2020 11:00 AM
By Mark Johnston

Nick Hopkinson, our Vice Chair, has written to his MP about the outrageous Internal Market Bill. If you have not already written to your MP, you may wish to use some of Nick's wording and/or adapt it for a letter to your MP. For your ease of reference, your MP's contact details can be found here.

Dear (name of MP),

I write to request you oppose the Internal Market Bill which, if passed as it stands, would put the UK in breach of its obligations under international law with regard to the EU Withdrawal Agreement.

The issue is far bigger than just our relations with the EU.

Firstly, it undermines the legitimacy of the 2019 General Election and thus the Conservative party's right to be in government. The principal plank of the Conservative manifesto was to "Get Brexit Done" on the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement which Boris Johnson signed and Parliament ratified. Reneging on parts of the Withdrawal Agreement shows there is no "oven-ready deal" which was promised to the electorate.

Secondly, Article 27 of the 1969 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties (signed by the UK) states "A party may not invoke the provisions of its internal law as justification for its failure to perform a treaty." As Baroness Taylor, Chair of the House of Lords Constitution Committee, wrote to Lord Chancellor Robert Buckland on 11 September "Whether that breach is 'specific and limited' or not is irrelevant. Any breach of international law threatens to undermine confidence in future treaty commitments made by the UK Government and increases the likelihood that the governments of other countries will breach their international law obligations (to us)."

Already US Congressional leaders have said they will not agree a trade deal with us unless we honour in particular the Northern Ireland Protocol of the Withdrawal Agreement. I mention a possible US trade deal not only because of its potential importance to our economy, but also because of the public support you have given a US deal.

Thirdly, it is patent nonsense for the Government to suggest the Internal Market Bill preserves peace in Northern Ireland and the integrity of the United Kingdom when clearly the opposite would be true.

It is unacceptable for Parliament to pass laws and for the Government expect we follow them, only for the Government to breach its own legislation. I urge you to stand up for the rule of rule and in particular the removal of the provisions in the Internal Market Bill which are inconsistent with international law.

I also urge you to press for a prompt and mutually satisfactory conclusion to negotiations with the EU to avoid an even more damaging No Deal Brexit.

Kind regards,
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