Carmichael speech: Internal Market Bill puts lawbreaking over UK integrity

Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael, spoke out last night on the impact of the lawbreaking included in the government’s Internal Market Bill. Mr Carmichael noted the harm the Bill risked to Northern Ireland and drew comparisons to the unlawful invasion of Iraq, passed by Parliament in 2003.


Speaking last night in the House, Mr Carmichael said:

“What we have seen tonight is chickens coming home to roost. Goodness only knows they were warned often enough. The Withdrawal Agreement was a political choice made by the Prime Minister to give Brexit precedence over the Northern Ireland peace agreement. This is a question that goes right to the very heart of the deal that was negotiated by the Prime Minister himself. We cannot enter into an agreement and then seek to repudiate it because the other party is doing what we have just agreed they are allowed to do.


“Whether it is Ministers in Downing Street or Members in this House who break the law, at the end of the day the United Kingdom will be judged and nobody will care who was ultimately responsible.


“In 2003 this House voted to go to war in Iraq, an action which again had little or no foundation in ​international law, and which was ultimately shown to be an unlawful act. Nobody cared that it was an act that had been authorised by this House and not just by Ministers in Downing Street.


“This is not, however, an isolated action from this Government. For a Government to act unlawfully once might be regarded as misfortune; to act unlawfully twice looks like carelessness.


“It is bad not just for our reputation as a player on the world stage, but it threatens the constitutional integrity of the United Kingdom. The Conservatives and Unionists in government should understand that.”

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