Kate writes regular updates on Brexit which she sends out to constituents - if you would like to join Kate's Brexit mailing list please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kate explains her decision to vote against the EU (Withdrawal) Bill
Kate questions Minister on Brexit legislation
Kate has questioned David Jones MP, Minister of State at the Department for Exiting the European Union, about the legislation needed for Brexit, during a session of the European Scrutiny Committee on Monday 20th March.
A report from the Institute for Government has said that pp to 15 new bills in addition to the Great Repeal Bill could be required to deliver Brexit, warning that Brexit will place a huge burden on both parliament and government departments.
In responding to Kate, the Minister said he didn’t know whether this number was accurate.
Kate's latest article 50 update - 15th March 2017
This week Parliament passed the legislation giving the Prime Minister the power to start the EU exit process. The EU (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill returned to the House of Commons following scrutiny in the House of Lords where my Labour colleagues had pushed through amendments to secure the rights of EU nationals in the UK and for Parliament to have a vote on the final deal.
These amendments then returned to the House of Commons on Monday, and I voted to support them. So I was dismayed that the Commons voted by 335 to 287 to reject the rights of EU nationals, and by 331 to 286 to reject giving parliament a greater say on the final deal. Contrary to some reports, these amendments if passed would not have prevented or even delayed the Brexit process, but would have brought peace to mind to over 3 million EU nationals living and working in the UK, and would have ensured that Parliament could insist the government carries on negotiating for the very best deal for our constituents. Whilst Ministers have assured the House of Commons that Parliament will be offered a vote, this will be on a ‘take it or leave it’ basis, making a mockery of one of the driving principles of Brexit, that of restoring Parliamentary sovereignty.
The un-amended Bill is now set to receive Royal Assent (become law) and the Prime Minister has indicated that Article 50 will be triggered by the end of the month - without any real assessment of the cost to the UK economy. Once Article 50 is triggered, the UK will have just two years to negotiate bilateral deals with the 53 countries with which the EU has Free Trade Agreements, which will cease to apply to Britain on the day of Brexit. The first priority for the Government therefore must be to ensure that the UK avoids a chaotic exit, leading to a ‘cliff edge’ situation in which the rules that govern UK trade are unclear, and trade is severely impeded or even stopped whilst negotiations continue.
As you may know, the Government have committed to transpose EU law into UK law on the day we leave the EU in a ‘Great Repeal Bill’ which is expected to be included in the Queen’s Speech in May. There are concerns that the Tory Government could try to use the Great Repeal Bill to weaken employment rights, equalities and environmental and consumer protections but, as I have stated repeatedly, I can assure you that my Labour colleagues and I will be supporting demands on the Government to ensure that the protections provided under EU regulations are retained or even strengthened as EU laws are rewritten into domestic policy.
Kate questions the Immigration Minister at European Scrutiny Committee
Kate questioned Robert Goodwill MP, Minister of State for Immigration, about the government's disgraceful decision to end the so-called Dubs arrangements which have enabled us to admit unaccompanied refugee children from the camps in Calais.
You can watch the session in full here.
Kate's decision on Article 50
MPs voted by a large majority to trigger the Article 50 process to leave the European Union. I was one of 122 MPs who opposed doing so.
In the debate on Article 50, I explained that the bill brought forward by the government didn't offer adequate guarantees for my constituents: for EU citizens living and working the UK and UK citizens living and working in the EU, no protections for our local businesses, for workers, for the environment, for consumers, or for our security. You can read my speech at (https://www.theyworkforyou.com/debates/…).
Hundreds of amendments to the bill had been proposed which could have improved it. But the government was determined to rush through the bill, and most never even got debated. We were able to vote on a few amendments, but didn't manage to win any of the votes.
The most important amendment in my view was a new clause to ensure that the exit deal the government negotiates will be put to a vote in parliament. All that the government has offered is a 'take it or leave it' vote that means that we could easily end up being asked to choose between a bad deal or no deal. That just isn't good enough - MPs should be able to insist the government carries on negotiating for the best deal for our constituents. Once that amendment fell, I had no option but to vote against triggering Article 50. The bill now goes to the House of Lords for their consideration, so there may still be a chance to improve it.