BOTH Members of Parliament for Powys have backed a controversial proposed law that would give Boris Johnson’s Conservative government the power to override parts of the Brexit agreement with the EU.
The Internal Market Bill passed its first hurdle in the Commons on Monday night when MPs – including Brecon and Radnorshire representative Fay Jones and Montgomeryshire counterpart Craig Williams – voted to back it by 340 votes to 263.
Ministers say it contains vital safeguards to protect Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK, even though critics, including a number of Tory MPs, warned it risks damaging the UK by breaching international law – including fears the Good Friday Agreement could be threatened.
Two Tory MPs voted against the bill on Monday – Sir Roger Gale and Andrew Percy – while a further 30 abstained.
Fay Jones MP said of her decision to back the bill: “We are delivering on our manifesto commitment to ensure unfettered trade across the United Kingdom.
“This will ensure that lamb reared in Sennybridge or drinks bottled in Presteigne are protected by a common system of regulation across the United Kingdom. As someone who wants to see businesses thrive in Brecon and Radnorshire, I very much welcome this element of the bill.
“I do not accept any accusation that this bill rows back on the devolution settlement. When we left the European Union, we did so as one United Kingdom. Following the transition period, the Welsh Parliament will hold almost seventy new powers.
“Likewise, the UK Government will also hold important investment powers which were originally the responsibility of the European Union. To put it simply, these powers never belonged to the Welsh Parliament – they were the UK’s powers ceded to Brussels as part of our membership of the European Union.
“Consequently, as sovereignty is restored to the UK Parliament, so should these powers be. I very much welcome this element of the bill; it gives the UK Government the power to invest in projects which contribute to economic development – such as better broadband or railway infrastructure which could provide much-needed jobs and growth in Brecon and Radnorshire.”
Jane Dodds has slammed Fay Jones and Craig Williams’ decisions to back the bill
Critics, however, have slammed the duo for “voting to break international law”.
Jane Dodds, Welsh Liberal Democrat leader and former MP for Brecon & Radnorshire, said:
“Ms Jones and Mr Williams can try and spin this all they want, but the Internal Market Bill goes against the very manifesto they were elected upon in December.
“They pledged to ‘get Brexit done’, but now want to get Brexit undone because they don’t like the agreement that they negotiated, that they campaigned upon and that they passed into law.
“If our MPs continue to support this bill, they will be actively harming our reputation on the world stage. If this happens, we will find it much harder to agree new trade deals and this would be devastating for farmers and communities across Powys.
“Our MPs need to grow a backbone and stand up for what is right. Failure to do so is a shameful neglect of their duty and shows they care more about their careers and party loyalty than standing up for their constituents.”