Voted on the Lords’ amendment to the EU (Withdrawal) Bill about Parliament having a ‘meaningful vote’ - I have been clear (since I first voted with 10 other Conservative colleagues in December 2017, against my Party, to insert a final Parliamentary vote in this Bill) that MPs must have a meaningful vote on the final UK/EU Brexit deal, and have a say if the Government decides that walking away with no deal is the better option.
Over the months I have had many meetings with Ministers, including the Prime Minister, about this and I was pleased that last week, after pressure, the Government tabled an amendment to expand on the change we made in December which would state the process that Ministers and Parliament would follow to have that say in the event of a deal. That was a significant concession but it didn’t deal adequately with a ‘no deal’ situation.
The House of Lords did then add such an amendment this week. When the Bill came back to us the Government wanted to accept that amendment but also to add the words ‘in neutral terms’ to the clause. This was intended to mean that a motion before the House of Commons in a ‘no deal’ situation would not be amendable. The language is taken from the Standing Orders of the House of Commons.
On Tuesday morning I obtained advice from the House of Commons library which said that regardless of what was put in the Bill the Standing Order took precedence and it would be for the Speaker to decide if a motion is in neutral terms and therefore not amendable ie. to have a meaningful vote. Having then negotiated a form of words which captured this I felt that, in the manner of all negotiations, it was time to accept this position and move on before the House of Commons became completely obsessed with our own procedures.
Next month the Customs and Trade Bills will be debated and, in my view, the trading relationship between the UK and the EU in future is of even more fundamental importance to the job and financial security of my constituents and I intend to be fully engaged in that debate.
Wrote to the Planning Inspectorate about notification arrangements – following my debate on the role of local communities in the planning system last month, I wrote to the Planning Inspectorate asking for clarification on how interested parties can request a copy of appeal decisions.
My office supported the East Midlands APPG meeting - this APPG brings together MPs of all parties who represent constituencies in the East Midlands to discuss regional matters and decide how best to work together to promote local causes in Parliament. We will particularly be focusing on infrastructure following the East Midlands Summit held on 27th November.
Hosted an Independent Day Schools meeting – this meeting brought together independent school leaders to discuss their thoughts and concerns on current education policy.
Chaired Treasury Select Committee evidence sessions on digital currencies and economic crime – if you would like to watch these sessions, you can do so here. More information about these inquiries and the work of the committee can be found here.