MARTIN Earl (Opinion, September 17) is quite right to say that two wrongs do not make a right in the current controversy about the UK Internal Market Bill, triggered with ineffable clumsiness by Brandon Lewis. Indeed we should not emulate the slippery bad faith of M. Barnier and the European Union. But as Mr Lewis failed to spot, we are not in fact acting outside the spirit or the letter of the Withdrawal Agreement.

It says: “If the application of this protocol leads to serious economic, societal or environmental difficulties that are liable to persist, or to diversion of trade, the Union or the United Kingdom may unilaterally take appropriate safeguard measures.” That is a precise description of what the Bill aims for. Which makes the other letter on this subject alleging the Bill will create a hard border in Ireland, and so threaten the Good Friday agreement, completely baffling. In fact it is the EU that is working to create border controls – while the Bill seeks to head them off.

Of course those who look with clear eyes at what the EU actually does are not in the least surprised at its behaviour, with its repeated flouting of its own rules and the international order when it suits – to take just a few examples, Germany’s endless EU-forbidden current account surplus, the brushing aside of WTO rules on GMO, Airbus subsidies and hormone beef, and in the UK’s case, the non-delivery of CAP reform following our rebate reduction (they caught Blair with that one).

I’m also with Mr Earl - up to a point - on earlier claims of the deal being “oven-ready”. But look at it this way: if on starting to cook your Christmas turkey you realized, at the very last moment, you’d left in the plastic bag with the giblets, what would be the better course: take the bag out or leave it in and poison your relatives? I know which festive dinner I’d prefer!

Rob White

Strathmore Gardens