In June 2016, the British people voted for the UK to leave the European Union (EU). Since that vote, I have argued that the UK should accept that result, and work for the best outcome.
To prepare for the UK’s departure from the EU, the UK Government had to serve formal notice, known as triggering Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty. I voted to trigger Article 50.This enabled formal talks to begin with the EU about Brexit.
A necessary part of leaving the EU is for thousands of areas of European laws and regulations to be transferred into UK law. This transfer of powers, the Government has nicknamed ‘The Great Repeal Bill’. It is actually a ‘Great Adoption Bill’, because it is moving EU laws wholesale into UK law. If the UK is leaving the EU, we have no choice about transferring all those measures into UK law so that from March 2019, those laws, rules and regulations continue.
Without them, there would be no laws governing trade, employment rights and many important issues, currently covered by laws made in the EU. Businesses need the stability and certainty of clear laws to ensure their business with Europe can proceed without problems.
That is the main purpose of the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill.
Of course, once the UK leaves the EU, then some laws may be changed in due course. That is why I, and Labour colleagues, will be trying to change some aspects of the Bill, such as the huge range of powers the Bill gives Tory Ministers to change the law on a wide range of issues, without coming to parliament.
As this Bill will have a long passage through both Houses, there are many opportunities to improve the Bill, and curtail ministerial power, without killing the Bill outright. That is why I cannot support voting against the Bill at Second Reading. I will abstain on the Second Reading vote.
I recognise that a Bill of this kind would have to be passed, whichever party was in government, if the UK is to proceed with Brexit.
If a Bill is defeated, it cannot be reintroduced in this parliamentary session. The Government would have to bring a new Bill forward with the same purpose in the next Parliamentary session. That will simply add to the delays and uncertainties facing businesses and citizens as we approach the departure date in March 2019.
I do not support a second referendum and I do not support trying to kill the legislation to delay or stop the UK’s departure from the European Union. Read my article of 3 September HERE.
At the general election, I promised Don Valley’s electors that I would work for the best Brexit deal for Doncaster. That means easy trade, protecting workers’ rights and tough immigration controls with strong borders.
This issue is set to dominate this Parliament, so watch this space for more updates.