SNP MP accuses UK Government of ‘driving coach and horses’ through international order

The UK Government has been accused of "driving a coach and horses" through international order by pushing through the Internal Market Bill.

Tuesday, 29th September 2020, 4:45 pm
SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon joins Alyn Smith, the SNP MP for Stirling, on the general election campaign trail last year. Picture: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire
SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon joins Alyn Smith, the SNP MP for Stirling, on the general election campaign trail last year. Picture: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire

SNP MP Alyn Smith claimed other countries would now feel they could break international law if Westminster voted to do so.

Writing in The Scotsman, the SNP’s foreign affairs spokesperson warned the Bill humiliated Britain and would send shockwaves throughout the international community.

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He said: “To force through its short-sighted political agenda, this Government is driving a coach and horses through the international order that has guided diplomatic relations for decades.

“Piece by piece, it is dismantling the frameworks which have ensured stability, prosperity and safety for billions across the world and replacing them with legislation that dictators and despots around the world will eye up with envy and ask ‘if the United Kingdom can break the law, why can’t I?’

“It damages the UK’s international reputation as an upholder of the international rules-based order and – as we already see – weakens the credibility and legitimacy of any attempts made to enforce international norms and obligations on other countries.”

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The Stirling MP was writing ahead of this evening’s vote that will see the UK Government vote overwhelmingly to break international law, something that was even admitted in the House of Commons by a senior minister.

Lashing out at the move, the SNP MP demanded resignations and suggested there should have been an election.

He said: “The words of the Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis, casually trotted out earlier this month, should have ended his career. It should have brought down this government.

“Instead, law breaking now seems to be a prerequisite for legislation brought forward by Boris Johnson’s Tory Government.

“The UK Government must decide now what image it wants to project on the international stage and whether it is comfortable with ‘Global Britain’ becoming synonymous with demagoguery and lawbreaking.”

He also criticised the introduction of the Overseas Operations Bill, which will place a time limit on prosecutions for crimes committed by members of the Armed Forces.

Mr Smith insisted Scotland was being "rushed to hell in a handcart" and did not want to be a part of flouting international rules.

The former Member of the European Parliament also questioned whether the Tories had given up on justice.

He said: “The mind boggles at the fact that, almost exactly a year ago today, Home Secretary Priti Patel could stand in front of the party faithful at the Conservative Party conference and boast that the Tories were the ‘party of law and order once again’.

“The Conservative Party has never been the party of law and order. It’s just that now, during the triple threat of an economic, health and constitutional crisis, Boris Johnson’s plain inability to govern has seen him take increasingly desperate measures at home.

“But as Douglas Ross – now leader of the Scottish Tories – pointed out in his resignation statement after Dominic Cummings’ jaunt to Barnard Castle, it is untenable for the Government to lay down the law for the public during this crisis yet seek to dodge and flout it themselves.”

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