Brexit and the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Act

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 judgements 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: 

http://www.conservativehome.com/thecolumnists/2017/01/nicky-morgan-tolerance-fairness-looking-outwards-the-values-i-prize-as-i-prepare-to-vote-for-article-50.html

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: 

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/588948/The_United_Kingdoms_exit_from_and_partnership_with_the_EU_Web.pdf

MPs and the Lords have now had the opportunity to discuss the Bill further during its remaining stages and I would like to share my thoughts on the two amendments passed by the Lords.

 

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 constituents 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 the Bill’s debate, 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. If you would like to read my further views on this, you can do so here: 

http://www.conservativehome.com/thecolumnists/2017/03/nicky-morgan-if-britain-reaches-no-deal-with-the-eu-parliament-must-still-be-able-to-vote.html

I have also spoken with Ministers since then but the Government made no concessions. In addition, I felt that the amendment did not properly reflect my concerns about what would happen if no deal was reached. Therefore I abstained from voting and the amendment was defeated by MPs by 331 to 286.

 

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 have received the letter below from the Home Secretary about this and I have no reason to doubt the following statement she has made:

‘There is absolutely no question of treating EU citizens with anything other than the utmost respect, recognising the contribution they make not just to our economy, but also working in crucial public services like the NHS. Without them we would be poorer and our public services weaker. That’s why we will be making securing their status, as well as that of British nationals in the EU, a priority as soon as we trigger Article 50 and the negotiations begin.’

Therefore, I did not feel that this amendment was necessary and so I voted against it. The majority of MPs also did not support it and it was defeated by 335 votes to 287.

I do 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.

If you would like to watch the debates, you can do so here: 

https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2017-03-13/debates/7B70DCB0-A791-4B45-B01E-04D5689E8E62/EuropeanUnion(NotificationOfWithdrawal)Bill

The Lords did not challenge the MPs’ decision on these amendments and the Queen has now given the Bill Royal Assent. 

Attachments

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Rt Hon. Amber Rudd MP - EU Nationals - 06.02.17.pdf 198.07 KB