The Farmers’ Union of Wales (FUW) says Members of Parliament must ensure the UK Government is prevented from introducing proposed changes to law which would breach the EU withdrawal agreement and break international law.
The demand came following Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis’s confirmirmation that a UK internal market bill the UK Government plans to introduce to Parliament would break international law by overriding the section of the EU Withdrawal Agreement relating to Northern Ireland.
Responding to a question in the house of commons on September 8, Mr Lewis admitted to MPs that the change to the international treaty signed just seven months ago would “...break international law in a specific and limited way.”
FUW Deputy President Ian Rickman said: “To propose legislation which would breach an international treaty signed just months ago puts us in the same category as countries that are generally considered to be backwards and untrustworthy, and to do this at a time when we are negotiating trade deals with a long list of countries beggars belief.”
Mr Rickman said it was essential that Members of Parliament from all parties stood in the way of such a humiliating move that would undermine the UK’s standing on the world stage at such a critical time.
The government plan led to legal department permanent secretary Sir Jonathan Jones announcing his resignation, while former prime minister Theresa May asked the Northern Ireland secretary “How can the government reassure future international partners that the UK can be trusted to abide by the legal obligations of the agreements it signs?” if it went ahead with the plans.
“The current government campaigned in the 2019 election on a platform supporting the signing of the withdrawal agreement treaty, which it did as soon as it came to power,” said Mr Rickman.
“As such, and however much the Government now disagrees with sections of it, they do not have a mandate to make such a U-turn, and they certainly do not have a mandate to break international law in a way that would cause such damage to our international reputation.
“It is essential that our Members of Parliament from across the political spectrum prevent the government from progressing with such a short-sighted, humiliating and damaging move,” he added.