Thank you for contacting me about the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill and for highlighting your concerns about the U.K. potentially breaking international law.
In my view any U.K. Government should always strive to work in the best interests of Northern Ireland and its diverse communities.
The Northern Ireland Protocol was agreed with the EU in a very difficult negotiation but, importantly, without prejudice to the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement. It is clear, however, that in its actual application the Protocol is not operating to protect all of those prior commitments contained and explained in the Good Friday Agreement. It has therefore become necessary to fix elements of the Northern Ireland Protocol (or, at the very least, the way it is implemented) to ensure the future stability, (and even the peace), of the province by ensuring that the delicate balance and the promises enshrined in the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement are protected and maintained.
The Northern Ireland Protocol Bill will allow the practical problems which the Protocol has created in Northern Ireland to be addressed - problems which have resulted in the disruption and diversion of trade (as well as significant and unnecessary costs and bureaucracy for many businesses) and, effectively, in the collapse of the power-sharing arrangements at Stormont.
The Government has set out in some detail, including in the Government website link below, how the Bill is basically compatible with the norms of international relations, international trade, international treaties and both international law & domestic law. In particular, I urge you to read, in full, the Government statement accessed via the link below very carefully indeed, as I think it explains carefully, clearly and convincingly why the Government believes that the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill is lawful under international law:
As you are probably aware, the UK has engaged in c.18 months of negotiations with the EU on these issues and the Government’s overwhelming preference remains a negotiated solution to resolve these problems. Absent a negotiated settlement, I do think that the Bill offers a framework and a reasonable and practical way forward for trying to sort out the key problems resulting from the Protocol whilst, importantly, still safeguarding the integrity of the EU Single Market in all important aspects for the EU and all EU countries.
The Bill recently passed through all its stages in the House of Commons and has now gone to the House of Lords for its consideration and legislative stages. I would predict that the Lords will almost certainly put forward and vote through some amendments to the Bill; any amendments thus passed by the Lords will then be sent ‘back’ to the House of Commons for its further consideration. Only when both Houses are agreed on the final wording of the Bill will it then become law and an Act of Parliament.
With best wishes.
Jonathan Lord MP
Member of Parliament for Woking