Any lost moral authority over Brexit ‘will be difficult to repair’ – Imran Ahmad Khan

IMRAN Ahmad Khan worked as a counter-terrorism expert before being elected to Parliament. This is an extract from his speech explaining his concerns over the United Kingdom Internal Market Bill before backing
the legislation.
Brexit negotiations with the European Union have led to new political divisions and tensions.Brexit negotiations with the European Union have led to new political divisions and tensions.
Brexit negotiations with the European Union have led to new political divisions and tensions.

JUST like the overwhelming majority 
of Members, I was returned to this 
House on the promise of getting Brexit done.

I am an ardent supporter of Brexit and look forward eagerly to the opportunity to bolster the United Kingdom’s position by becoming an independent, self-governing nation, possessed of the confidence that flows from our vision and principled values.

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Although I stand four-square behind the Government’s policies and objectives, including those advanced by the Internal Market Bill, I cannot vote for legislation that a Cabinet Minister stated from the Dispatch Box will break international 

Imran Ahmad Khan defeated Labour's Mary Creagh in Wakefield at the last election.Imran Ahmad Khan defeated Labour's Mary Creagh in Wakefield at the last election.
Imran Ahmad Khan defeated Labour's Mary Creagh in Wakefield at the last election.

Before I was returned to this House, I spent many years in distant, sometimes dangerous places on behalf of our country, our closest friend, the United States, NATO and the UN, where I was committed to upholding the international rules-based system, which is the only shield we have against the law of the jungle.

The rules-based system is, of course, one that the United Kingdom was proud to play a central role in building.

I have every sympathy with Her Majesty’s Government and place the responsibility for the impending denouement firmly with the EU, as it haughtily refuses to deal with the UK 
as a sovereign equal, like our sibling Canada.

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The Northern Ireland protocol was agreed on the assumption that Brussels would provide an off-the-shelf trade deal with no bells and whistles, as Monsieur Barnier himself offered. That would have involved no more than a light-touch border between Britain and Ulster. The EU has moved the goalposts.

The prospect of a no-deal rupture and intra-UK trade tariffs has constitutional implications for the United Kingdom, creating a much harder trade border in the Irish Sea than Unionists supposed. It therefore intrudes ineluctably on the Belfast agreement.

I have no sympathy with the hysterical, hypocritical and hyperbolic statements from the EU, declaring that the UK uniquely will be in breach of its international commitments.

Half the countries of the EU are in breach of their various treaty obligations. Germany and France both choose to deliberately breach their EU treaty commitments relating to budget deficit limits, and others are famous for being selective in deciding which rules to follow.

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However, the UK has always held itself to a higher standard. Our principles of fair play and freedom, underpinned by the rule of law, are who we are.

They are part of our DNA, and must be protected. Our position of global leadership and permanent membership of the Security Council is derived not from being a victorious power, but 
from our moral authority. Moral authority is hard earned and easily 
lost. Once damaged, it is difficult to repair.

Having consulted highly respected experts in international law, some 
of us have concluded that if the EU, in breach of its obligations to act in good faith and with best endeavours, were to employ the Withdrawal Agreement as a Trojan horse, this Bill, if enacted and employed, would not necessarily constitute a breach of our commitments, under either UK or international law.

Rather, the Bill would then serve as a protection against the abuse of our good nature and a reminder to the Commission of its obligations.

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My great problem with the Government’s position is the predicament in which they have 
placed people who share my view 
that the Bill would represent a specific and limited breach of international 

Only if my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Michael Gove) can provide assurances to the House that Her Majesty’s Government share my interpretation – our interpretation – that such powers, if enacted and employed, would not automatically constitute a breach 
of our legal obligations will I support the Bill.

Imran Ahmad Khan is the Conservative MP for Wakefield.

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Thank you

James Mitchinson

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