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Internal Market Bill threatens to undermine the rule of law, Lords Constitution Committee warn

Friday 11 September 2020

The Internal Market Bill proposes ministerial powers that would allow the Government to depart from the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement with the European Union. As the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland confirmed in the House of Commons on Tuesday, it permits the Government to break international law.

In a letter sent today to the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, Robert Buckland QC MP, the House of Lords Constitution Committee has expressed serious concerns about the rule of law implications of the UK Internal Market Bill. The Committee notes that the Bill proposes to confer ministerial powers that conflict with international law, the Ministerial Code and the Cabinet Manual.

The Committee says: “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 would not comply with their international law obligations”.

The Committee has taken the unusual step of asking Mr Buckland to explain how he believes the UK Internal Market Bill complies with international law, adding that “We know how seriously you take your oath of office and responsibility to uphold the rule of law”.

Read the Committee's letter

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