Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael, has spoken in Parliament against new rushed legislation to prepare the country for the end of the EU transition period. Mr Carmichael spoke on a new Bill adding customs and taxation regulation to Northern Ireland as a result of Brexit, and voiced concern that so much of the law was not ready and would need to be amended with secondary legislation in future.
Speaking in the House, Mr Carmichael said:
“I always thought that taking back control would look rather different than this. To have just 24 hours to consider 112 pages of highly technical and detailed taxation legislation is an insult to this House. It is remarkable that despite these 112 pages, the detail is still to come and there will be secondary legislation to implement the detail of what our businesses will actually need.
“The kindest comment I can make about the Bill is that it is just a foretaste of things to come. Most of it pertains to the relationship with Northern Ireland, and the Government are still tying themselves in knots because they promised contradictory things. They said we could come out of the customs union or we would have no border north and south or have no border east or west. In fact, if we were going to come out of the customs union, eventually we had to have a border north or south, or east or west; we could not have all three. Once “sovereignty” trumps economics, that inevitably leads to having borders.”
Mr Carmichael quoted poet Robert Burns:
“The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men
Gang aft agley,
An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain,
For promis’d joy!”
“If ever I heard the perfect way of describing Brexit, that has got to be it. Robert Burns was an exciseman, so he would know quite a lot about customs and the matters in this Bill; Lord alone knows what he would make of it if he were alive today.”