Rebecca Pow, MP for Taunton Deane.
Rebecca Pow, MP for Taunton Deane.

The Government have once again used a big announcement to hide the fact that it is acting in bad faith, using the budget this week the hide the announcement that there will be an extension of grace periods on post-Brexit customs checks in Northern Irish ports.

Secretary Rob Ewers had the following to say:

“You may say I am biased, but as a constituent of Taunton Deane and someone who lost his grandfather to Covid in a care home, I am not only alarmed at the government’s chaotic handling of Coronavirus, but also the increasing level of impunity with which it disregards the law.

It must be said, the vaccine rollout is going well. Though I can’t help but wonder whether this has got something to do with the fact that it is being run by the NHS, and not Dido Harding, Matt Hancock and Serco, as the failed, multi-billion pound Test and Trace system was.

We all know the story of Dominic Cummings and his trip to Barnard Castle, and most of you probably know about the Internal Market Bill, which not only committed the UK to doing something previously unthinkable; breaking an international treaty, but as an added bonus, jeopardized the Good Friday Agreement.

Just this week the Government has repeated this act, and did what in Westminster is termed ‘taking out the trash’, except the trash in this case is, once again, Northern Ireland. By implementing a unilateral extension of grace periods on post-Brexit customs checks at Northern Ireland ports until the end of September, the UK is once again acting in bad faith and breaking its own legal agreements. Doing it quietly while the budget is being announced (aka taking out the trash) is simply an attempt to avoid scrutiny.

While many Conservative voters won’t notice or care, the international community is watching closely as the UK casually discards its reputation as a trustworthy international partner. This comes at a time when we need to be forging new international relationships, not advertising ourselves as unreliable at best and duplicitous at worst.

It’s with this in mind that I was disappointed but not surprised that our very own MP, Rebecca Pow, not only backed Dominic Cummings, but also voted for the law breaking Internal Market Bill. What, I wonder does she have to say in relation to this weeks’ Northern Ireland ‘trash’ disposal?

I can already hear Conservatives jumping in to defend her and the government. Since Brandon Lewis (Northern Ireland Secretary) has already admitted to breaking international law, this is no easy task. I will be interested to see how many constituents in Taunton Deane are genuinely concerned about this, and who will be willing to raise the issue with her. To those who agree with me, go ahead and write to her. It’s easy, and its her job to listen. In theory at least.”

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