United Kingdom Internal Market Bill 2019-21

Author (Corporate)
Series Title
Series Details 58/1, Number 177
Publication Date 2020
Content Type


Public bill presented to Parliament by the UK Government on 9 September 2020, aiming to ensure no new barriers are introduced for businesses trading across the United Kingdom once the UK Government and the devolved administrations are no longer collectively bound by EU law.

Further information:

As powers over essential policy areas return to the Government and devolved administrations, there is a possibility that different part of the UK may in future make different rules. This could create barriers to trade between constituent parts of the UK. The UK Internal Market Bill would rely on the principles of mutual recognition and non-discrimination to ensure there are no new barriers for businesses trading across the UK.

The provisions of this bill include:

  • Matters concerning the internal market for goods and services in the UK;
  • Matters concerning the Northern Ireland Protocol relating to trade and state aid;
  • Financial assistance in connection with economic development, infrastructure, culture, sport and educational or training activities and exchanges;
  • Regulation of provision of distortive or harmful subsidies a reserved or excepted matter.

This document was preceded by a White Paper published by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) on 16 July 2020. The bill was introduced to the House of Common and given its First Reading on 9 September 2020. The devolved administrations raised strong objections to the bill. The proposed document also gives ministers powers to amend how the UK could implement the Northern Ireland protocol. The potential violation of international law - through unilateral change to the binding Withdrawal Agreement - raised concern among politicians and other stakeholders across the United Kingdom and beyond. Not least, this proposal threatened the successful conclusion of negotiations with the European Union on a framework for post-Brexit relations - an extraordinary meeting of the EU-UK Joint Committee was called following the introduction of this bill.

The bill was approved in second reading by the House of Commons on 14 September by 340 votes to 263. It was also approved in third reading on 29 September by 340 votes to 256. In November 2020, the House of Lords voted for amendments to the proposed Bill.

Source Link https://services.parliament.uk/bills/2019-21/unitedkingdominternalmarket.html
Related Links
Commentary and Analysis
Institute for Government: Explainer: What is the UK Internal Market Bill? https://www.instituteforgovernment.org.uk/explainers/internal-market-bill
Wikipedia: UK Internal Market Bill https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UK_Internal_Market_Bill
LexisNexis: In-House Blog, 23/07/2020: Examining the government’s plans for regulating the UK internal market https://www.lexisnexis.co.uk/blog/in-house/examining-the-government-s-plans-for-regulating-the-uk-internal-market
Institute of Welsh Affairs (IWA): Opinion, 05/08/2020: Internal Market Bill: Westminster’s Devolution Doublespeak https://www.iwa.wales/agenda/2020/08/internal-market-bill-westminsters-devolution-doublespeak/
Cardiff University: Wales Governance Centre: News, 01/09/2020: UK Internal Market proposals pose ‘serious threat’ to devolved autonomy, says civil society https://www.cardiff.ac.uk/news/view/2433668-uk-internal-market-proposals-pose-serious-threat-to-devolved-autonomy,-says-civil-society
The Guardian, 09/09/2020: Internal market bill: what it says and the UK hopes to achieve https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2020/sep/09/internal-market-bill-what-it-says-and-the-uk-hopes-to-achieve
Public Law for Everyone: Blog, 09/09/2020: The Internal Market Bill - A Perfect Constitutional Storm https://publiclawforeveryone.com/2020/09/09/the-internal-market-bill-a-perfect-constitutional-storm/
Amnesty International (UK): Press Release, 09/09/2020: UK: Internal Market Bill is 'deeply concerning' https://www.amnesty.org.uk/press-releases/uk-internal-market-bill-deeply-concerning
New Statesman, 09/09/2020: Why the Internal Market Bill makes a no-deal Brexit much more likely https://www.newstatesman.com/politics/brexit/2020/09/why-internal-market-bill-makes-no-deal-brexit-much-more-likely
BBC News, 09/09/2020: What is the row over UK 'internal markets' all about? https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-54065391
The Guardian: Editorial, 09/09/2020: The Guardian view on the internal market bill: a legal wrecking ball https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/sep/09/the-guardian-view-on-the-internal-market-bill-a-legal-wrecking-ball
Politico, 09/09/2020: Brexit negotiations hit low after UK’s ‘carpet-bombing’ tactics https://www.politico.eu/article/brexit-negotiations-eu-uk-no-deal-withdrawal-agreement-irish-border-breach-international-law/
Deutsche Welle, 09/09/2020: Brexit: UK introduces new bill, what you need to know https://p.dw.com/p/3iExz
Reuters: FactBox, 09/09/2020: After Brexit row, what does Britain's Internal Market Bill do? https://www.reuters.com/article/idUSKBN2601ZP
UK in a Changing Europe: Commentary, 10/09/2020: The Internal Market Bill: when is EU law not EU law? https://ukandeu.ac.uk/the-internal-market-bill-when-is-eu-law-not-eu-law/
The Spectator, 10/09/2020: Introducing the Internal Market bill isn’t unconstitutional https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/whatever-its-political-wisdom-introducing-the-internal-markets-bill-is-not-unconstitutional
BBC News, 10/09/2020: Brexit deal stand-off threatens trade talks https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-54109443
LSE: Brexit Blog, 10/09/2020: Conor Gearty on the Challenge to the Irish Protocol: ‘the rule of law’ is out https://blogs.lse.ac.uk/brexit/2020/09/10/conor-gearty-on-the-challenge-to-the-irish-protocol-the-rule-of-law-is-out/
Deutsche Welle, 11/09/2020: Boris Johnson's chaotic Brexit strategy https://p.dw.com/p/3iJLl
UCL: The Constitution Unit, 13/09/2020: Will the Lords block the UK Internal Market Bill? https://constitution-unit.com/2020/09/13/will-the-lords-block-the-uk-internal-market-bill/
UK in a Changing Europe: Commentary, 14/09/2020: UK Internal Market Bill: risks and challenges https://ukandeu.ac.uk/uk-internal-market-bill-risks-and-challenges/
Euro|topics, September 2020: Johnson's Brexit plans met by hail of criticism https://www.eurotopics.net/en/247210/
Institute for Government: Comment, 14/09/2020: The UK government should be prepared to compromise on the UK internal market https://www.instituteforgovernment.org.uk/blog/uk-government-should-be-prepared-compromise-uk-internal-market
New Statesman, 15/09/2020: The Internal Market Bill’s chances of passing are very high – but they are not certain https://www.newstatesman.com/politics/staggers/2020/09/internal-market-bill-s-chances-passing-are-very-high-they-are-not-certain
Verfassungsblog, 16/09/2020: A Matter of Faith. The Dubious Legality of the UK’s Internal Market Bill https://verfassungsblog.de/a-matter-of-faith/
New Statesman, 16/09/2020: Can the Lords defeat the Internal Market Bill – and will they? https://www.newstatesman.com/politics/brexit/2020/09/can-lords-defeat-internal-market-bill-and-will-they
White&Case: Alerts, 17/09/2020: The Internal Market Bill, the EU Withdrawal Agreement and the risk of no deal on the EU-UK future relationship https://www.whitecase.com/publications/alert/internal-market-bill-eu-withdrawal-agreement-and-risk-no-deal-eu-uk-future
Reuters: Explainer, 23/09/2020: What happens next with UK plan to breach Brexit divorce treaty? https://www.reuters.com/article/idUSKCN26E1SK
Senedd Research: In Brief Blog, 23/09/2020: What does the Internal Market Bill mean for Wales and what’s behind the headlines? https://seneddresearch.blog/2020/09/23/what-does-the-internal-market-bill-mean-for-wales-and-whats-behind-the-headlines/
UK Constitutional Law Association: Blog, 23/09/2020: The United Kingdom Internal Market Bill and Breach of Domestic Law https://ukconstitutionallaw.org/2020/09/23/ronan-cormacain-the-united-kingdom-internal-market-bill-and-breach-of-domestic-law/
LSE: Brexit Blog, 24/09/2020: The Internal Market Bill may further erode trust and security in Ireland/Northern Ireland https://blogs.lse.ac.uk/brexit/2020/09/24/the-internal-market-bill-may-further-erode-trust-and-security-in-ireland-northern-ireland/
Institute for Government: Explainer, 25/09/2020: Trade in the UK internal market https://www.instituteforgovernment.org.uk/explainers/trade-uk-internal-market
UK in a Changing Europe: Explainer, 25/09/2020: The Internal Market Bill and Northern Ireland: where it comes from and what it might mean https://ukandeu.ac.uk/explainers/the-internal-market-bill-and-northern-ireland-where-it-comes-from-and-what-it-might-mean/
Queen's University Belfast: Policy Engagement, 30/09/2020: The UK Internal Market Bill – An Explainer http://qpol.qub.ac.uk/the-uk-internal-market-bill-an-explainer/
UK Political Studies Association: Blog, 05/10/2020: The Internal Market Bill: Contingency or Calumny? https://www.psa.ac.uk/psa/news/internal-market-bill-contingency-or-calumny
Oxford University: Undergraduate Law Journal, 15/10/2020: The Internal Market Bill: A New Threat to the Rule of Law https://www.law.ox.ac.uk/ouulj/blog/2020/10/internal-market-bill-new-threat-rule
LSE: Brexit Blog, 19/10/2020: How does the UK Internal Market Bill relate to Northern Ireland? https://blogs.lse.ac.uk/brexit/2020/10/19/how-does-the-uk-internal-market-bill-relate-to-northern-ireland/
Chatham House: Expert Comment, 21/10/2020: Breaching International Law Comes at a Price https://www.chathamhouse.org/2020/10/breaching-international-law-comes-price
Institute for Government: Events, 26/10/2020: The UK Internal Market Bill in the House of Lords https://www.instituteforgovernment.org.uk/events/internal-market-bill-house-lords
Senedd Research: Blog, 02/11/2020: The Internal Market Bill: What amendments have been made to date? https://seneddresearch.blog/2020/11/02/the-internal-market-bill-what-amendments-have-been-made-to-date/
Centre on Constitutional Change: News & Opinion, 10/11/2020: Brexit, Wales and the Internal Market Bill: a failure of soft law? https://www.centreonconstitutionalchange.ac.uk/news-and-opinion/brexit-wales-and-internal-market-bill-failure-soft-law
UK in a Changing Europe: Commentary, 12/11/2020: The Internal Market Bill and its rough ride through the Lords https://ukandeu.ac.uk/the-internal-market-bill-and-its-rough-ride-through-the-lords/
European Law Blog, 17/11/2020: True (Bad) Faith 2020? Part Two: Excavating the Legal Rationale for the ‘Emergency Clauses’ in the UK Internal Market Bill https://europeanlawblog.eu/2020/11/17/true-bad-faith-2020-part-two-excavating-the-legal-rationale-for-the-emergency-clauses-in-the-uk-internal-market-bill/
EPRS: Briefing, November 2020: UK Internal Market Bill and the Withdrawal Agreement https://www.europarl.europa.eu/thinktank/en/document.html?reference=EPRS_BRI(2020)659359

Nation.cymru: News, 20/08/2020: Minister warns internal market legislation will ‘accelerate the break-up of the Union’ https://nation.cymru/news/minister-warns-internal-market-legislation-will-accelerate-the-break-up-of-the-union/
ITV News, 03/09/2020: Scottish Government calls for alternative to ‘unacceptable’ Internal Market Bill https://www.itv.com/news/2020-09-02/scottish-government-calls-for-alternative-to-unacceptable-internal-market-bill
Deutsche Welle, 07/09/2020: Brexit talks deadlocked: UK plans to override parts of EU withdrawal deal https://p.dw.com/p/3i5KQ
ITV News, 07/09/2020: UK and EU at loggerheads as Boris Johnson 'plans to rip-up parts of Brexit Withdrawal Agreement' https://www.itv.com/news/2020-09-07/pm-planning-to-override-key-parts-of-brexit-withdrawal-agreement
EUObserver, 08/09/2020: EU warns London over undermining Brexit agreement https://euobserver.com/brexit/149351
Sky News, 09/09/2020: Controversial Internal Market Bill breaks international law, government admits https://news.sky.com/story/brexit-what-is-the-uk-internal-market-bill-and-why-does-it-matter-12065832
The Independent (UK), 09/09/2020: Boris Johnson heads for bust-up with Scotland and Wales over internal market bill https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/boris-johnson-uk-internal-markets-bill-scotland-nicola-sturgeon-brexit-b420688.html
Politico, 09/09/2020: UK plan to break law over Brexit deal prompts exasperation at home and abroad https://www.politico.eu/article/uk-government-brexit-no-deal-fears-provokes-exasperation-at-home-and-abroad/
BBC News, 09/09/2020: Brexit: PM defends planned changes to Withdrawal Agreement https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-54003483
The Guardian, 09/09/2020: Plan for post-Brexit UK internal market bill 'is an abomination' https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2020/sep/09/plans-post-brexit-uk-internal-market-assault-devolution-scotland-wales
BBC News, 09/09/2020: Brexit: Bill breaches Brexit obligations, says SDLP https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-54092176
Deutsche Welle, 09/09/2020: Brexit: UK unveils draft bill that 'breaks international law' https://p.dw.com/p/3iC2p
BBC News, 09/09/2020: Brexit: New Welsh spending powers set to go to UK government https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-politics-54072660
Reuters, 10/09/2020: Internal Market bill gives Britain legal framework for trade, says Gove https://uk.reuters.com/article/idUKKBN2612CH
The Scotsman, 10/09/2020: UK's Internal Market Bill is an explicit attack on Scottish devolution – Tommy Sheppard MSP https://www.scotsman.com/news/opinion/columnists/uks-internal-market-bill-explicit-attack-scottish-devolution-tommy-sheppard-msp-2967633
Politico, 10/09/2020: EU ultimatum as Brexit talks sour https://www.politico.eu/article/eu-tells-uk-to-amend-internal-market-bill-or-face-brexit-consequences/
BBC News, 10/09/2020: Brexit: Lords' anger over 'hypocritical' changes to divorce deal https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-54105455
Euronews, 10/09/2020: Brexit trade deal: British are 'creating chaos deliberately' says Irish foreign minister https://www.euronews.com/2020/09/10/brexit-trade-deal-british-are-creating-chaos-deliberately-says-irish-foreign-minister
Deutsche Welle, 10/09/2020: Brexit: EU will 'not be shy' in taking legal action over UK divorce deal changes https://p.dw.com/p/3iG3H
BBC News, 10/09/2020: Brexit: EU ultimatum to UK over withdrawal deal changes https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-54097320
The Guardian, 14/09/2020: Brexit: internal market bill passes by 77 votes amid Tory party tension https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2020/sep/14/brexit-internal-market-bill-passes-by-77-votes-amid-tory-party-tension
Euronews, 14/09/2020: Brexit bill to override EU divorce deal passes first hurdle but MPs rebel https://www.euronews.com/2020/09/14/uk-mps-set-to-debate-internal-market-bill-to-override-brexit-divorce-terms
RTÉ News, 14/09/2020: Johnson's controversial Brexit bill clears first Commons hurdle https://www.rte.ie/news/brexit/2020/0914/1165013-brexit-politics/
Politico, 15/09/2020: Bill to rewrite Brexit deal passes first major hurdle https://www.politico.eu/article/internal-market-bill-to-rewrite-brexit-deal-passes-boris-johnson/
BBC News, 15/09/2020: Brexit: Internal Market Bill clears first hurdle in Commons https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-54156419
Sky News, 15/09/2020: Boris Johnson's Internal Market Bill to override parts of Brexit deal clears first Commons hurdle https://news.sky.com/story/boris-johnsons-internal-market-bill-to-override-parts-of-brexit-deal-clears-first-commons-hurdle-12071843
BBC News, 17/09/2020: Brexit: Finance ministers 'concerned' over Internal Market Bill https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-northern-ireland-54191715
ITV News, 29/09/2020: Brexit: Talks enter final stage amid war of words over Internal Market Bill https://www.itv.com/news/2020-09-29/brexit-trade-talks-resume-amid-war-of-words-over-internal-market-bill
Politico, 29/09/2020: Brexit: UK’s Internal Market Bill passes with ease https://www.politico.eu/article/brexit-uks-internal-market-bill-passes-with-ease/
The Guardian, 30/09/2020: Brexit: internal market bill passed by Commons despite Tory concerns https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2020/sep/29/internal-market-bill-passed-by-commons-despite-tory-concerns
Euronews, 30/09/2020: Brexit: UK MPs back government's contentious Internal Market Bill https://www.euronews.com/2020/09/30/brexit-uk-mps-back-government-s-contentious-internal-market-bill
BBC News, 19/10/2020: Brexit: Anglican leaders issue Internal Market Bill warning https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-54592062
The Guardian, 09/11/2020: Brexit: UK risks being 'international pariah' under Biden, says Labour https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2020/nov/09/uk-risks-becoming-international-pariah-by-rewriting-brexit-bill
BBC News, 10/11/2020: Brexit: Government's bill suffers heavy House of Lords defeat https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-54882088
Politico, 10/11/2020: UK Conservatives urge Boris Johnson to listen to Lords on law-breaking bill https://www.politico.eu/article/uk-conservatives-urge-boris-johnson-to-listen-to-lords-on-law-breaking-internal-market-bill/
City AM, 10/11/2020: House of Lords defeats Boris Johnson's controversial Brexit bill https://www.cityam.com/house-of-lords-defeats-boris-johnsons-controversial-brexit-bill/
Associated Press, 10/11/2020: UK defiant even after House of Lords rejects Brexit bill https://apnews.com/article/joe-biden-brexit-legislation-london-boris-johnson-ac754a3512b8031a93aaca89ccd1413c
EurActiv, 16/11/2020: ‘No way’ EU will back a UK trade deal under Johnson’s Internal Market Bill terms https://www.euractiv.com/section/politics/short_news/no-way-eu-will-back-a-uk-trade-deal-under-johnsons-internal-market-bill-terms/
BBC News, 19/11/2020: Brexit: Lords defeat government twice over internal market law https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-54986142

UK Government: Publications, July 2020: Policy Paper: UK internal market https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-internal-market
UK Government: Consultations: UK internal market: policy option proposals https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/uk-internal-market-policy-option-proposals
Scottish Government: News, 08/09/2020: UK Internal Market Bill https://www.gov.scot/news/uk-internal-market-bill/
UK Government: News, 09/09/2020: UK Internal Market Bill introduced today https://www.gov.uk/government/news/uk-internal-market-bill-introduced-today
UK Government: Press Release, 09/09/2020: Government sets out plans for new approach to subsidy control https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-sets-out-plans-for-new-approach-to-subsidy-control
European Commission: Statement by the European Commission following the extraordinary meeting of the EU-UK Joint Committee (10 September 2020) https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/statement_20_1607
European Parliament: Press Release, 11/09/2020: Statement of the UK Coordination Group and the leaders of the political groups of the EP https://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/press-room/20200907IPR86513/
UK Government: Speech, 14/09/2020: Prime Minister opening statement - second reading of the UKIM bill https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/prime-minister-opening-statement-second-reading-of-the-ukim-bill
Welsh Government: Press Release, 17/09/2020: Finance ministers express ‘real concerns’ over UK Internal Market Bill https://gov.wales/finance-ministers-express-real-concerns-over-uk-internal-market-bill
Scottish Government: News, 28/09/2020: Internal Market Bill - Legislative Consent Memorandum published https://www.gov.scot/news/internal-market-bill/
TUC Cymru: News, 14/10/2020: Joint statement on the Internal Market Bill https://www.tuc.org.uk/news/joint-statement-internal-market-bill
UK Parliament: House of Lords: News, 09/11/2020: Northern Ireland Protocol in spotlight as Lords check of internal market bill continues https://www.parliament.uk/business/news/2020/october/lords-debates-internal-market-bill/
Senedd Cymru: News, 13/11/2020: Passing Internal Market Bill without consent of the devolved nations could be “profoundly damaging to the UK as a whole” https://senedd.wales/en/newhome/pages/newsitem.aspx?itemid=2155
UK Government: Policy Paper, November 2020: UK Internal Market Bill 2020: policy statements https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-internal-market-bill-2020-policy-statements
UK Parliament: News, 23/11/2020: Lords continues further check of UK Internal Market Bill https://www.parliament.uk/business/news/2020/october/lords-debates-internal-market-bill/

ESO Records
United Kingdom Internal Market Bill: Briefing for Lords Stages [Research Briefing, House of Lords Library] https://www.europeansources.info/record/united-kingdom-internal-market-bill-briefing-for-lords-stages/
UK Internal Market Bill: Devolution and the Union [UKiCE/WGC/CCC Report, October 2020] https://www.europeansources.info/record/uk-internal-market-bill-devolution-and-the-union/

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