It has been said that in the EU referendum last year, the British people voted to ‘take back control’ of our laws. For many, that meant a powerful reassertion of Parliamentary sovereignty. As such, we parliamentarians have a solemn duty to scrutinise the actions of the executive. On no subject is this scrutiny more important and more necessary than Brexit.
Members of all parties have already provided valuable scrutiny to the EU (Withdrawal) Bill, and we have forced the Government into some concessions. But little of that will matter unless we can have a truly meaningful vote on the withdrawal agreement the Government negotiates with the European Union.
Far too often, Ministers have flouted the rights of Parliament in this process, seeking exceptional powers to take the UK out of the EU on a bad deal, or with no agreement at all. This is unacceptable.
Ministers have committed to enshrining the withdrawal agreement in legislation which must be passed through Parliament. But there are no guarantees that this would be in any way meaningful. Were the Government to be defeated, they could still crash the UK out of the Union with no deal. There is no prescription for how much detail must be provided in the Bill. And we could even find ourselves in the absurd position of voting on the exit agreement after the UK has left.
That is why we believe it to be vital that colleagues from across the House vote on Wednesday to give Parliament a properly meaningful say on Brexit by supporting Amendment 7 to the EU (Withdrawal) Bill, tabled by the former Conservative Attorney General Dominic Grieve MP. It helps ensure a meaningful vote comes before exit day and that the terms of our withdrawal should be approved by way of a legally binding Act of Parliament, which should be passed before the Prime Minister signs any agreement.
We understand the pressures colleagues face to vote ‘the right way.’ But this is a matter of the national interest, and that interest must come first. Let us stand up for the sovereignty of Parliament and the people we were sent here to represent.
Chuka Umunna MP, Co-Chair, the APPG on EU Relations (Lab)
Anna Soubry MP, Co-Chair, the APPG on EU Relations (Con)
Jonathan Edwards MP, Vice-Chair, the APPG on EU Relations (Plaid)
Stephen Gethins MP, Vice-Chair, the APPG on EU Relations (SNP)
Caroline Lucas MP, Vice-Chair, the APPG on EU Relations (Green)
Jo Swinson MP, Vice-Chair, the APPG on EU Relations (Lib)
APPG Co-Chair Chuka Umunna MP says "The Government’s proposed Withdrawal Agreement Bill is totally insufficient"
Commenting on today’s announcement by the Secretary of State for the EU, David Davis, that any Brexit Withdrawal Agreement will be brought before Parliament as a piece of primary legislation, Chuka Umunna MP, Co-Chair of the APPG on EU Relations, said:
“David Davis' announcement just now that there will be an Act of Parliament to approve a final EU deal is totally insufficient: he gave no guarantee of a meaningful vote before 29 March 2019 and this doesn't cover the event of there being no deal.
“Clearly this is an attempt to see off amendments that go much further than David Davis on a 'meaningful vote' - it is vital the EU Withdrawal Bill is amended to provide for a proper, not a fake, meaningful vote before any exit day."Read more
Commenting on reports that the EU Withdrawal Bill will not return to the House of Commons next week, and may be delayed until after the November recess, Chuka Umunna MP, Co-Chair of the APPG on EU Relations, said:
“I am not at all surprised at this delay on the EU Withdrawal Bill – it is a badly drafted Bill, and badly thought through.
“The number of amendments has given Ministers a lot to think about, which shows Parliament is taking back control and is already doing its job of scrutiny well on this.”Read more
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.Read more
Cross-party MPs call for permanent Customs Union membership, warning of Brexit bureaucracy bombshell for business
MPs from across the political parties are today (Friday) calling on the Government to keep Britain in the EU’s Customs Union permanently after Brexit, as the All-Party Parliamentary Group on EU Relations releases a report outlining the value of Customs Union membership to Britain, detailing the dangers to our economy and our borders that could be caused if we leave, and criticising the Government’s “irresponsible” and “vague” proposal on customs.Read more
Cross-party parliamentary group demands Parliament has its say on Government Customs Union proposals
Today, the Government has released its position paper on post-Brexit customs arrangements between the United Kingdom and the European Union.
Commenting, Chuka Umunna MP, Co-Chair of the APPG on EU Relations, said:
“As the Brexit negotiations go forward, it is crucial that Ministers take positions based on realism rather than wishful thinking. Unfortunately, such realism is thin on the ground in this position paper.
"They might promise frictionless trade, but they are offering a red tape bombshell for British business.Read more