Last week, during the debate in the House of Commons on the EU Withdrawal Bill, I emphasised the importance of a Meaningful Vote for Parliament.
Time and time again the Government has claimed that Brexit is an opportunity to ‘take back control’, but this Government are anything but in control. The Prime Minister can’t even control her own cabinet, let alone be in control of negotiations with the EU.
She has spent two years kicking the can down the road and avoiding taking any decision on the kind of future we wish to negotiate because it might threaten her position. She is putting her own party’s interests ahead of the national interest, and her inaction is threatening the future of this country. After the EU Withdrawal Bill, there were supposed to be seven other key pieces of legislation, but only two have been published so far.
They have filled the EU Withdrawal Bill with so called Henry VIII powers, which allow the Government to legislate without Parliament having a say, usurping the Executive’s legislative power, and now they are trying to deny Parliament any say on the final deal.
The Government are trying to force Parliament into a Hobson’s choice, between whatever deal they come back with and no deal at all. If this is the case, and the Government walk away with No Deal, the UK will crash out of the EU on World Trade Organisation terms without Parliament having a say. There are estimates that suggest that leaving with No Deal would be disastrous and would cost the North West Economy 12% of its GDP and make austerity look like an era of plenty.
This is why the Meaningful Vote amendment is so important. It ensures that any final deal will be in the best interests of the UK, and if it is not, it empowers Parliament to negotiate for a deal that works for everyone.
Last week, the Government managed to avoid a serious defeat on the issue of a Meaningful Vote after they promised Tory rebels that their demands would be met. However, the Prime Minister shamefully reneged on her promise.
Despite this, when the EU Withdrawal Bill returned to the House of Lords, the amendment for a Meaningful Vote was swiftly reinserted into the Bill, and the Government faced an even bigger margin of defeat.
Although the amendment today was defeated, I will continue to support calls for a Meaningful Vote, and to ensure that Parliament can genuinely take back control to ensure that we have a deal that is genuinely in the best interests of the country.
The EU Withdrawal Bill has returned to the Commons today, for the first of two days of debates and votes, following on from the Government suffering 15 defeats in the Lords. Time and time again the Government has claimed that Brexit is an opportunity to take back control, but this Government are anything but in control. The Prime Minister can’t even control her own cabinet, let alone be in control of negotiations with the EU. Brexit was meant to be an opportunity for Parliamentary Sovereignty to be enacted, yet this Government have fought tooth and nail to deny Parliament a say on the final deal. The Government have only allocated 12 hours of debate, to be spread over two days, and around half of this time will be taken up by voting for this Bill. Despite it being arguably the most important piece of legislation that Parliament will deal with for generations to come, the time allocated is simply not long enough. It is obvious that the Government are trying to rush this Bill through Parliament because two years on from the referendum, it is clear they have no plan for how jobs and the economy will be protected, or for how to avoid a hard border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. We saw extraordinary scenes in the chamber today, with the Solicitor General trying to negotiate with a member of his own backbenches to avoid another embarrassing defeat on the issue of a final vote for Parliament.It is so important that that Parliament is be given a meaningful vote on the final terms of our exit from the EU. I previously voted for a successful amendment to the Bill in the Commons last December to require that the Government's proposed withdrawal deal be approved by Parliament. Today, I will be voting to retain an amendment made in the House of Lords that strengthens the terms of this meaningful vote. This will make clear that, should the Government come back with no deal, as some hard-line Brexiteers want, or if their proposed withdrawal deal is not good enough, it is for Parliament to take control, and have a say on what happens next. Watch the video below for more ↓
Posted by Angela Eagle on Tuesday, June 12, 2018