Brexit - Government must change direction

Few issues have proven as politically divisive as Brexit, and I recently joined Labour colleagues and others from across the House of Commons trying to force a change in direction from the government in its approach to the passage of Brexit through Parliament.

Firstly, I want to emphasise that this Bill is not about whether Britain leaves the EU. That issue was settled by the referendum result and the Article 50 Bill. The Labour Party has been very clear that we respect the referendum result and recognise that Britain is leaving the EU.

Instead, this Bill is about how we leave the EU, what role Parliament has in the process and how we safeguard vital rights and protections as we leave.

I believe that Brexit must not lead to any drop in rights and protections – including workplace rights, consumer rights, human rights and environmental standards – and that power should be brought back to Parliament and local communities.

The Government’s Bill, however, will do precisely the opposite: It puts huge and unaccountable power into the hands of government ministers – including the power to decide the key terms of our exit from the EU – it will side-line Parliament on major decisions and put crucial rights and protections at risk. Far from bringing back control to Parliament, it will result in a power-grab for the government.

The Bill will also undermine and introduce restrictions on the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, rather than leading to the wider devolution of power we need to see to communities across the UK.

Crucially, the Bill could also prevent Britain from being able to negotiate a strong transitional deal on the same basic terms we currently enjoy, which is vital if we are to prevent a cliff-edge for the economy as we leave the EU.

That is why I could not support this Bill in the form presented. It will cause lasting damage to the role and power Parliament of and it would do nothing to help deliver the Brexit deal we need – one that puts jobs and the economy first and maintains rights and protections. It will also give a blank cheque to the Government to change whichever laws they please.

Labour has repeatedly raised these concerns with the Government but they have been utterly inflexible and unwilling to engage constructively. Labour’s aim has always been to repair this Bill, we will now join others from across the house to table and secure amendments to this flawed Bill.

Instead, this Bill is about how we leave the EU, what role Parliament has in the process and how we safeguard vital rights and protections as we leave.

I believe that Brexit must not lead to any drop in rights and protections – including workplace rights, consumer rights, human rights and environmental standards – and that power should be brought back to Parliament and local communities.

The Government’s Bill, however, will do precisely the opposite: It puts huge and unaccountable power into the hands of government ministers – including the power to decide the key terms of our exit from the EU – it will side-line Parliament on major decisions and put crucial rights and protections at risk. Far from bringing back control to Parliament, it will result in a power-grab for the government.

The Bill will also undermine and introduce restrictions on the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, rather than leading to the wider devolution of power we need to see to communities across the UK.

Crucially, the Bill could also prevent Britain from being able to negotiate a strong transitional deal on the same basic terms we currently enjoy, which is vital if we are to prevent a cliff-edge for the economy as we leave the EU.

That is why I could not support this Bill in the form presented. It will cause lasting damage to the role and power Parliament of and it would do nothing to help deliver the Brexit deal we need – one that puts jobs and the economy first and maintains rights and protections. It will also give a blank cheque to the Government to change whichever laws they please.

Labour has repeatedly raised these concerns with the Government but they have been utterly inflexible and unwilling to engage constructively. Labour’s aim has always been to repair this Bill, we will now join others from across the house to table and secure amendments to this flawed Bill.

Instead, this Bill is about how we leave the EU, what role Parliament has in the process and how we safeguard vital rights and protections as we leave.

I believe that Brexit must not lead to any drop in rights and protections – including workplace rights, consumer rights, human rights and environmental standards – and that power should be brought back to Parliament and local communities.

The Government’s Bill, however, will do precisely the opposite: It puts huge and unaccountable power into the hands of government ministers – including the power to decide the key terms of our exit from the EU – it will side-line Parliament on major decisions and put crucial rights and protections at risk. Far from bringing back control to Parliament, it will result in a power-grab for the government.

The Bill will also undermine and introduce restrictions on the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, rather than leading to the wider devolution of power we need to see to communities across the UK.

Crucially, the Bill could also prevent Britain from being able to negotiate a strong transitional deal on the same basic terms we currently enjoy, which is vital if we are to prevent a cliff-edge for the economy as we leave the EU.

That is why I could not support this Bill in the form presented. It will cause lasting damage to the role and power Parliament of and it would do nothing to help deliver the Brexit deal we need – one that puts jobs and the economy first and maintains rights and protections. It will also give a blank cheque to the Government to change whichever laws they please.

Labour has repeatedly raised these concerns with the Government but they have been utterly inflexible and unwilling to engage constructively. Labour’s aim has always been to repair this Bill, we will now join others from across the house to table and secure amendments to this flawed Bill.