Brexit Bill could undermine peace in Northern Ireland


Leaders of Anglican Churches have warned the UK government a new Brexit bill could set a “disastrous precedent”.

The Internal Market Bill could damage the relationship between the UK’s four nations. So say the archbishops of York and Canterbury and the heads of the Church in Scotland, Wales and Ireland.

The bill sets out rules for the operation of trade in the UK internal market after the end of the Brexit transition period in January 2021.

The bill would allow aspects of the EU Withdrawal Agreement to be superseded.

Opponents argue that it breaks international law and have vowed to stop or amend it.

The five Anglican bishops warn any breach could undermine peace in Northern Ireland.

“We believe this would create a disastrous precedent.

It is particularly disturbing for all of us who feel a sense of duty and responsibility to the Good Friday (Belfast) Agreement – that international treaty on which peace and stability within and between the UK and Ireland depends.

The UK negotiated the Northern Ireland Protocol with the EU to “protect the 1998 Agreement in all its dimensions.”

The Anglican bishops warn that the bill “currently asks the country’s highest law making body to equip a government minister to break international law. This has enormous moral, as well as political and legal, consequences.”

A number of Tory MPs have criticised the intervention. However, Archbishop McDowell told BBC Radio 4’s Today church leaders had a role to play in maintaining the “civic dialogue.” This was an essential part of a healthy democracy.

“Pretty much every political act, and every piece of legislation or social policy, has an ethical element to it,” he said.

A total of 113 peers are discussing the bill this week in the House of Lords. The Archbishop of Canterbury is one of 113 peers due to speak in the two-day second reading debate.


Additional reading

News category: World.

Tags: , , ,