Thank you for taking the time to contact me regarding the second reading of the UK Internal Markets Bill which passed through Government last night. I would like to take the opportunity to explain why I voted for it and what the Bill means for the UK in practice.
Our Union is the fundamental building block that makes the United Kingdom the greatest country ever. The manifesto on which this Government was elected last year promised businesses in Northern Ireland unfettered access to the rest of the UK. In good faith, during negotiations we agreed to conduct some light touch processes on goods passing between Great Britain and Northern Ireland. We are conducting those checks in accordance with our obligations.
However, under the current terms, if we leave the EU without a deal the Protocol would create an instant and automatic prohibition of the transfer of our animal products from Great Britain to Northern Ireland. This gives our EU partners the possibility of blocking food and agricultural transports within our own country. Instead, the Bill puts in place reasonable steps to create an insurance policy that ensures businesses can continue to trade across our country as they do now, avoiding new burdens and barriers in order to protect jobs and support our recovery from coronavirus. As Cabinet Minister Michael Gove, has stated, this is entirely within the rule of law.
Crucially, if we reach an agreement with our European counterparts, the provisions in the UK Internal Markets Bill will never be invoked. The Prime Minister has provided us with a legal safety net which will not be necessary if parties to negotiations act reasonably. Our Government has called on the EU to cooperate with us to secure a good free trade agreement and the solid future relationship which we all want. However, we can only do so in a way that satisfies the fundamental purpose of the Protocol, the Belfast Agreement and the constitutional position of Northern Ireland to protect our Union.
As the transition period comes to an end, we will ensure the most successful union of nations this world has ever known continues to thrive. I was elected to represent Bolton North East on the primary manifesto pledge to deliver Brexit, and that is what I commit to doing. I will continue to pay close attention to the negotiations and the approach that our government adopts to ensure optimal cooperation across the UK, while preserving the frictionless trade which is essential to our economic recovery and political future.