In recent weeks I have been contacted by a large number of constituents, on all sides of the debate, regarding the implementation of Article 50.
The Supreme Court last week ensured Parliamentary sovereignty and their judgment will allow MPs to vote on whether Article 50 should be triggered, not just Government Ministers.
I am urging my colleagues to accept the democratic will of the people, whilst scrutinising and amending the Government’s ‘Brexit’ Bill to ensure we get the best deal possible for Britain, for jobs, for workers’ rights and much more.
I didn’t support the Leave campaign, I believe that there will still be dark days ahead because of the decision to leave the EU, but I think trust in politics and politicians would plummet to new lows if we fail to accept the result of the Referendum, posing even greater risks to our economy, our security and our future.
I will be supporting the Bill at Second Reading but will be working with Shadow Cabinet colleagues on amendments to the Bill as part of the Committee process, to try to secure protections for my constituents including protecting jobs, the economy and workers’ rights.
I will vigorously oppose any threat to rip up existing economic and social protections, including slashing corporate taxes and public spending. Living standards and public services must not be used as a bargaining chip in Brexit negotiations.
We have tabled a number of targeted amendments that would significantly improve the process and ensure there is grip and accountability at every stage. These amendments would:
i) Allow for a meaningful vote in the House of Commons on the final Brexit deal (NC1)
ii) Establish a number of broad principles the Government must seek to negotiate with regard to, including protecting workers’ rights and securing full tariff and impediment free access to the Single Market (NC2)
iii) Ensure the Government must seek to retain all existing EU tax avoidance and evasion measures post-Brexit (an anti-tax haven amendment, NC7)
iv) Require the Government to report to the House of Commons at regular intervals on the progress of Brexit negotiations (NC3)
v) Guarantee legal rights for EU nationals living in the UK before Brexit negotiations begin (NC6 and NC8)
vi) Require the Government to consult regularly with the governments in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales by putting the Joint Ministerial Committee (JMC) on a statutory footing (NC4).
vii) Require the Government to publish any impact assessment that has been carried out on the potential impact of leaving the Single Market and Customs Union (NC5). A separate amendment would ensure that any new relationship with the EU must be accompanied by an Equality Impact Assessment.
We are also supporting two amendments tabled by Melanie Onn which would protect workers’ rights post-Brexit (NC9 and NC10)
Triggering Article 50 is just the start of the Brexit process, not the end. There will a long battle throughout the negotiations to shape the final deal. Labour will hold the Government to account and fight against a damaging Tory Brexit.