Cross-party pro-European group announces new vice-chairs to take the fight against a hard Brexit to Ministers in the House of Lords

The main cross-party pro-European group in Parliament has unveiled its new vice-chairs from the House of Lords, including a former Conservative minister and a former Permanent Secretary of the Foreign Office, who will work together to fight against a hard Brexit in the House of Lords.

The All-Party Parliamentary Group on EU Relations, co-chaired by Labour MP Chuka Umunna and Conservative MP Anna Soubry, has appointed new cross-party vice-chairs in the House of Lords to lead the fight against the Government’s Repeal Bill, and other Brexit legislation, when they reach the upper house.

The new vice-chairs are Baroness Ros Altmann, the former Conservative Pensions Minister; Lord Adonis, head of the National Infrastructure Commission and former Labour Transport Secretary; Lord Kerr, a cross-bencher who was UK Representative to the EU and former Permanent Secretary of the Foreign Office; Liberal Democrat Baroness Sharon Bowles, former Chair of the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee of the European Parliament; and Lord Dafydd Wigley, former leader of Plaid Cymru.

Baroness Altmann has said of the Government’s Brexit strategy that “we are on track for a pretty disastrous outcome, and leaving with no deal will absolutely be a disastrous outcome as far as I am concerned” and has said that “Brexit is like leaping off a cliff without a parachute.” Lord Kerr recently accused Boris Johnson of being “silent” about the UK’s post-Brexit foreign policy.

The APPG’s co-chair, Anna Soubry, has dismissed the “macho” and “bullish” Government attitude to parliamentary scrutiny of Brexit.

Commenting, Chuka Umunna MP, Co-Chair of the APPG on EU Relations, said:

 

“Through their not-so great Withdrawal Bill, the Government are seeking to ram massive legislative change, which will affect the lives of everyone in our country, with little scrutiny by MPs. Our APPG will focus on scrutinising and, if necessary, amending this Bill in both Houses, without fear or favour, as it goes through Parliament.

“That’s why we are delighted to announce our new vice-chairs in the House of Lords, who will bring their political experience and expert knowledge to bear to ensure that Brexit will not be built on a creaking foundation of bad legislation.

“MPs and Peers from across Parliament will not sit by passively and allow the Government to bulldoze their way to a hard, destructive Brexit that puts our prosperity and our relationship with our European allies at risk.” 

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Notes to editors:

For all bids and media enquiries, contact Will Cousins on 07801 231485. When reporting this story, please reference the APPG on EU Relations.

Baroness Altmann’s comments are reported here: http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/842240/Brexit-news-UK-European-Union-latest-Channel-4-Theresa-May-Conservative-Party and here: https://twitter.com/rosaltmann/status/740313251788001280

Lord Kerr’s comments are here: https://www.standard.co.uk/comment/comment/john-kerr-brexit-is-about-foreign-policy-why-is-britain-being-so-silent-a3617336.html

Anna Soubry’s comments are here: https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/sep/04/end-macho-brexit-posturing-anna-soubry-urges-theresa-may

The APPG on EU Relations recently published its first report, ‘The Case for Continued Customs Union Membership’, arguing that Britain should remain in the Customs Union permanently after Brexit. Chuka Umunna MP and Anna Soubry wrote that leaving the Customs Union would subject the UK economy to “a reckless and economically dangerous self-inflicted wound”, and that Government proposals on customs “look nothing short of a Brexit bureaucracy bombshell for British businesses.”: http://www.eurelations.uk/cross_party_mps_call_for_permanent_customs_union_membership_warning_of_brexit_bureaucracy_bombshell_for_business

About the APPG on EU Relations:

The APPG on EU Relations was established at the start of the newly elected Parliament in July 2017. Its members work together to campaign in and out of Parliament with the following objectives:

  1. To ensure the UK does not exit the European Union without an agreement on the terms of its withdrawal and future relations with the EU;
  2. To ensure that, in the negotiation with the UK's EU partners, all options are kept on the table; and,
  3. To secure the closest possible working with relationship with the EU and its 27 member states. 

The co-chairs of the APPG are Chuka Umunna MP and Anna Soubry MP and the vice-chairs are Caroline Lucas MP, Jo Swinson MP, Stephen Gethins MP and Jonathan Edwards MP.

The Secretariat for the APPG on EU Relations is provided by four pro-European groups: Open Britain, Best for Britain, European Movement, and Vote Leave Watch. Though the groups broadly support the APPG, the APPG speaks on behalf of its Parliamentarians and not on behalf of those groups. 

For information about the APPG, please visit our website: http://www.eurelations.uk/