The deputies of the House of Commons began their Christmas recess yesterday with the warning that at any moment they could be called to Parliament to ratify the agreement with the European Union, in case London and Brussels finally reach an agreement in extremis. “We believe that we can pass the necessary legislation before December 31 to give legal certainty to companies in the future,” declared the number two of the Government, Michael Gove, who maintained that such approval could occur only two days after the announcement of a covenant. However, it was clear that “if there is no time for parliamentary scrutiny, we will leave (on December 31) without an agreement.” For his part, a Downing Street source said they do not believe it is necessary for parliamentarians to work on Christmas Day, especially now that the new deadline for the end of the negotiations is Sunday night, and according to sources from the Parliament, a vote could be agreed on December 28 if an agreement is reached before midnight on Sunday December 21.
The UK also has two divorce-related bills at different stages of the legislative process: the Internal Market Bill and the Tax Bill. The first, which is in the final stages before its approval, generated much controversy when the government admitted that it would constitute a violation of international law since some of its clauses conflict with parts of the Withdrawal Agreement. However, the Executive justified its decision by saying that this is an important step to guarantee free trade between the four nations that make up the United Kingdom – England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland – once the exit from the EU is definitive. Furthermore, it wants to have a safety net in the face of predictably complex customs arrangements, as while goods and products should be able to move unhindered between Northern Ireland and the UK, the Government does not want Ireland to be a ‘back door’ for entry of goods from the community block.
The Boris Johnson Government considers that in both legislative texts there are clauses necessary to protect Northern Ireland in the event of doubts, gaps or directly a lack of agreement on how to manage its border with the Republic of Ireland. But in any case, in recent weeks he softened his position saying that he might be willing to remove some of the conflicting clauses if there is a ‘satisfactory’ conclusion in the next few days of the talks regarding the implementation of the rules on the Irish border. , and that they are independent of the negotiations on a post-Brexit trade deal.
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