SDLP MPs Colum Eastwood and Claire Hanna will vote against the unilateral breach of international law and treaty obligations proposed in the British Government’s Northern Ireland Protocol legislation in the House of Commons this evening.
Speaking ahead of the debate, SDLP Leader Colum Eastwood said that the bill fails to address the needs of communities in Northern Ireland, will seriously undermine the conditions which have allowed local businesses to take advantage of dual market access and accused Foreign Secretary Liz Truss of using people in Northern Ireland to advance her own Tory leadership ambitions.
Colum Eastwood MP said:
“People, businesses and communities in Northern Ireland deserve better than to be used by self-serving Tories seeking to advance their own leadership ambitions. Boris Johnson did it to undermine Theresa May and now Liz Truss is preparing to shred her government’s reputation on the international stage just to flex some muscle for Brexit fanatics on the Conservative backbenches. This place and our people cannot be collateral damage in another Tory leadership contest.
“The British government has misrepresented people here and they have fundamentally misread the public mood. The protocol is driving economic growth in Northern Ireland beyond that being experienced in Britain as a result of our unique circumstances. North South trade is increasing and exporting businesses are making the most of access to two significant markets. There are clearly issues with the operation of the protocol and I acknowledge the genuine concerns of unionists but this legislation is not the solution.
“This bill will push Britain further into the territory of a rogue state, ignoring its treaty obligations and violating international law for domestic political convenience. The only enduring answer is a negotiated solution, a position that Boris Johnson’s government appears to have totally abandoned.
“This is bad legislation designed not in the interests of people in Northern Ireland but in the narrow political interests of Conservative Ministers once again holding themselves ransom to DUP demands. The SDLP will continue to oppose its passage.”