The Conservative chairman of the Commons Northern Ireland select committee is currently taking a drubbing on Twitter after he announced he will abstain on the Third Reading of the Internal Market Bill that threatens the peace there, rather than opposing it outright.
Simon Hoare tweeted that information from the US Congress that its members would not permit any free trade agreements with the United Kingdom. He seemed to believe that this was justification for him to abstain, rather than oppose the Bill that breaks international law by overruling the EU Withdrawal Agreement on trade borders around NI.
Incredibly clear & important comment. BOTH sides of the aisle stand united (in the US that’s not an everyday occasion) to ensure the Good Friday Agreement & the peace of the island of Ireland are maintained. I will be abstaining at 3rd Reading of the Internal Mkt Bill today https://t.co/YNdhIPxkd5
— Simon Hoare MP (@Simon4NDorset) September 29, 2020
Northern Ireland voted to stay in the European Union, and the Good Friday Agreement demands that its border with the Republic of Ireland be kept open. Brexit would make that impossible without the conditions in the EU Withdrawal Agreement that provide the province with a special status. But the Internal Market Bill illegally overwrites those conditions.
In abstaining on the Bill, Hoare is effectively saying that he does not want to express an opinion on it – even though he knows it will be harmful to peace in Northern Ireland, and to the Union. It is the position of a coward who is afraid to take a stand when his bosses do the wrong thing.
Even if he really didn’t know that, he is being told it in no uncertain terms:
Aren't you Chairman of the NI Select Committee? If so, don't you think voting against this bill, rather than abstaining would be a stronger stand?
Of course you do, but keeping your job is more important than your integrity isn't it?
— Owen Warne (@OwenWarne) September 29, 2020
If the Chair of the Northern Ireland Select Committee is only willing to abstain, what hope do we have?
— Alex Tiffin (@RespectIsVital) September 29, 2020
Abstaining when international law is being violated & a threat to peace in NI & you sit on the fence.
What a coward.
Forever this be on your conscience.
Job before integrity. https://t.co/h4PScW01Wp
— JackElphinstone (@ElphinstoneJack) September 29, 2020
Every MP who abstains should be deselected.
— liv 🏴🕷 (@MacLiv) September 29, 2020
Talking about abstaining like it's a brave and honourable thing to do. If you really give a shit, vote against. https://t.co/meQW1feNK6
— Johnny T. Grrr (@Johnny_T_Grrr) September 29, 2020
Stand up for what you believe in and vote AGAINST ! Abstaining is the cowards way out . We don’t pay you to avoid making difficult decisions and shirking your responsibilities. Have some back bone man
— Bríd 3.5% 🇮🇪🇪🇺 (@akaSpearBird) September 29, 2020
I live in Northern Ireland. We do not want a hard border or obstructions to the status quo between north/south or NI & GB. Our peace and economy depend on it. Abstaining is cowardly, contemptuous and no longer justifies your salary and purpose to those who pay you. https://t.co/4TDSPsrMeU
— musicistheanswer (@keryn_1) September 29, 2020
What a hero, abstaining on breaking international law. FFS.
— Jacqueline Murphy #3.5% (@drjawalsh) September 29, 2020
Abstaining? Do something useful and vote against it, you spineless little man. https://t.co/4igJuuM9Qt
— Iz🦉⏳⭐ (@drnateheywood) September 29, 2020
Abstaining is a cowardly sitting on the fence position. You're either for the GFA or you're not. If you're for preserving the incredibly hard won peace, abstention is not an option.
Country before party.
— Pay Tax Where U Live. 🇬🇧🇪🇺#RejoinEU #FBPE #BDS (@Pen_Duick) September 29, 2020
I would be
— Joe – A Carbon Based Lifeform (@gothbotherer) September 29, 2020
If he does abstain, Spineless Simon should be ashamed to call himself a human being.
I wonder how many Conservatives will follow his example – doing just enough to salve their miniscule consciences without actually stopping the Bill?
Abstention means allowing Boris Johnson to break international law.
And it means an end to peace in Northern Ireland.
When violence breaks out again, after Johnson does whatever he’s planning to do to the Northern Ireland border, Simon Hoare and all other Tory abstainers will be responsible.
But then we know from past experience that Tories are perfectly comfortable to sit in Parliament with blood dripping from their hands.
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