With all that’s going on right now in the world, it’s quite something that Brexit still manages to dominate the headlines and make politicians do and say astonishingly silly things.
But Brexit means Brexit… and here we are.
This week the big Brexit news is the government’s plan to break international law by backtracking on parts of the Withdrawal Agreement it signed with the EU last year. The government has faced criticism for “ripping up” the agreement it signed and campaigned on in the 2019 general election, which it now claims damages the “integrity of the UK”.(
The Internal Market Bill ended up passing through the House of Commons on Monday night, but not before it was heavily debated and criticised by MPs from all parties.
And there was no one who did a better job of holding Boris Johnson to account than Ed Miliband.
The former Labour leader and current shadow cabinet member launched a blistering attack on Johnson’s behaviour regarding the bill, urging MPs to vote against it.
In a speech that will likely go down in history, Miliband accused the PM of being the man who “got Brexit undone” rather than “done”, who blamed his woes on everyone else but himself.
This bill gets Brexit undone by overturning key aspects of the protocol that were agreed.
I do say to the prime minister, while I have been part of many issues of contention across this despatch box, I never thought respecting international law would in my lifetime be a matter of disagreement.
I stood opposite the prime minister’s predecessor, David Cameron, as leader of the opposition for five years. I don’t know why he’s (Boris Johnson) rolling his eyes.
I disagreed with him (Cameron) profoundly on many issues but I could never have imagined him coming along and saying we are going to legislate to break international law on an agreement we had signed less than a year earlier as a country, but that is what this bill does.
Miliband said it was not an argument about “Leave vs Remain” but “Right vs Wrong”.
Our global reputation for rule-making not rule-breaking is one of the reasons we are so respected around the world.
And when you ask of people to think of Britain they think of the rule of law and let’s be clear after the prime minister’s speech this is not an argument about Remain vs Leave, it is an argument about Right vs Wrong.
On social media, the reaction to the speech was positive.
People praised Miliband’s big moment and some described him as the “best prime minister Britain never had”.
Dare we say it, but perhaps Miliband should fill in for Starmer more often?