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Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Brexit: Lords defeat government over internal market law

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The government has been defeated in the House of Lords over its Brexit law.

The bill aims to create a UK-wide internal market after the Brexit transition period ends on 31 December.

Peers voted 367 votes to 209 to amend the Internal Market Bill, after claims that it would allow the UK government to “shackle” devolved administrations as powers are returned from Brussels.

Cabinet Office Minister Lord True said this amendment would create confusion for business.

He said the right place for final decisions on the internal market should be the Westminster Parliament, but peers supported an amendment that sought to strengthen the role of the devolved governments.

Speaking in favour of the amendment, Crossbench peer Baroness Finlay of Llandaff said the bill would allow Westminster to bypass the views of devolved governments in Cardiff, Edinburgh and Belfast and consign current arrangements to a “meaningless sideshow”.

She added that the proposed legislation “shackles the ability of the elected parliaments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to find their own solutions to the problems we face”.

And Labour said it would, for example, prevent the Welsh government from banning different types of plastic ahead of the rest of the UK.

The Internal Market Bill is designed to enable goods and services to flow freely across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland once the transition period is over.

Currently regulations and standards on issues like animal welfare are agreed and applied across the EU.

After the transition period, many of these standards will be directly controlled by the devolved administrations – but the UK government has said they will still have to accept goods and services from all other parts of the UK, even if they have set different standards locally.

Last week, peers also defeated the government on the bill over plans to allow the UK to override parts of the withdrawal agreement that apply to Northern Ireland.

Once peers have finished debating the bill it will head back to the House of Commons where MPs will decided either to reject or accept the Lords’ amendments.

This post courtesy of bbc-politics

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This post courtesy of bbc-politics