Thank you to the large number of local residents who have contacted me about Brexit and the Article 50 Bill which has been debated by the House of Commons very recently.
Although I campaigned to Remain in the EU I respect the decision made on 23rd June. I agreed with the judgments of the High Court and Supreme Court that an Act of Parliament was needed to give the Government the power to trigger Article 50 and begin the Brexit process.
Therefore, after my speech during the Second Reading of the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill on the 1st February, I voted in support of the Bill. I go into further detail about my decision to do so in this article:
I am also pleased that the Government has published its White Paper which sets out its principles for the UK’s negotiations with the EU. If you would like to read this, it can be found here:
MPs have also now had the opportunity to discuss these principles during the remaining stages of the Bill in the House of Commons. The House of Commons voted by 494 votes to 122 to approve the Bill and it has progressed to the House of Lords. If you would like to watch the debates, you can do so here:
I would also like to respond to the most common concerns that have been raised with me.
The Prime Minister has announced that the Government will prioritise reducing immigration over membership of the Single Market. In the White Paper, it states that:
‘The Government will prioritise securing the freest and most frictionless trade possible in goods and services between the UK and the EU. We will not be seeking membership of the Single Market, but will pursue instead a new strategic partnership with the EU, including an ambitious and comprehensive Free Trade Agreement and a new customs agreement.’
Parliamentary Scrutiny of the Final Deal
The negotiations will take time, a lot can happen whilst they are ongoing and the worst thing would be to end up with no deal at all. This is why it is important for the House of Commons to have a say at the end of this process. MPs are constituency representatives and we must be able to represent our constituent as Brexit progresses.
I welcome the Prime Minister’s commitment in her Lancaster House speech that Parliament will have a vote on any final deal. This is repeated in the White Paper which contains many references to parliamentary involvement in the Brexit process.
Whilst the Government’s pledge for a vote on a final deal is the right thing to do, no reassurances were given about what would happen if there was no deal or agreement to put to either the UK or the European Parliaments for approval.
In the course of debate on Tuesday, MPs pressed the Government to acknowledge this gap and to give assurances that Parliament will be involved towards the end of the Brexit process, even if it appears no deal is likely to be agreed. Although no amendments were made to the actual Bill, the Prime Minister and Ministers did give assurances about the timing of a vote and that it would be a vote on both the withdrawal agreement and a new trade agreement. I will continue to make the case for proper Parliamentary scrutiny of this Brexit process, to support the Government’s negotiations and ensure I can represent your views throughout and at the end of the process.
EU Nationals in the UK
I recognise the important contribution EU migrants have made to the UK and I believe the Government should guarantee their right to stay here as soon as possible.
Although the Prime Minister has attempted to resolve this issue at an early stage, leaders in the EU have decided to wait until Article 50 is invoked before they will discuss this and hopefully come to a quick decision. I entirely understand that EU nationals living here need certainty and clarity about their position. I have made this point publicly and will continue to do so.
You may be interested to read a letter I have recently received from the Home Secretary about this, which can be found below.
I have recently received a letter about Euratom from Jo Johnson MP, Minister for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation, and Jesse Norman MP, Minister for Energy and Industry, which can also be found below.
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