122018Jun

The EU Withdrawal Bill

Today I will not be voting for any of the House of Lords or Labour’s opposition amendments to the EU Withdrawal Bill. I did vote remain but I am a democrat and believe we must honour the referendum result. It was a majority of around 1.3 million more people voting to Leave than voting Remain. I can reassure you though that the PM is more aware that the deal must work for everyone and our country.

There is an amendment which includes mandating a second referendum on the final deal. I will not support this if it comes to a vote. I do not believe another referendum is needed, given that the PM has stated that the deal will be voted on in Parliament and we do have a representative democracy. We have had the referendum and the vote was leave – now we need to ensure the best deal is secured and enacted. Further referendums will add uncertainty which will damage business confidence and the economy and could therefore lead to local job losses – which I will not support.

It is crucial that we keep the EU Withdrawal bill simple and effective to ensure it is passed and the result of the referendum honoured. Some of the Lords amendments have tried to shoehorn stuff into it which doesn’t fit. This bill is simply to ratify and codify existing EU legislation onto the UK statute book, so that we can spend time over the years to come, assessing the legislation and alter it to work better for our country (when needed).

There is an amendment on a ‘meaningful vote’ which would add to law, the requirement for Parliament to vote on the deal. This is superfluous given that the PM has already committed to it and we have tabled an amendment to not only guarantee it but also ensure it is done with a copy of the agreement and framework for the future relationship.

The amendments relating to remaining in the Customs Union would undermine the vote. Staying in the Customs Union would mean we would continue to pay into the EU and not have control over our money. We would also have to retain free movement of labour. Controlling our money, and immigration, have been proven to be key reasons why people voted to leave. I believe this would be the worst case scenario we would have the costs and constraints but no say, so basically be in a worse position than we started in!

Labour’s amendment to the EU Withdrawal Bill could mean accepting free movement and continuing to follow a swathe of EU rules with absolutely no say in them. This breaks Labour’s Brexit promises and does not respect the referendum result.

I will be supporting a cross party amendment to ensure the maintenance of environmental principles.

There are a number of amendments and some government counter ones so if you have a question over a specific one please email michelle.donelan.mp@parliament.uk