Earlier this month, the House of Commons voted on the EU (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill including crucial amendments put forward by Keir Starmer MP, Labour’s Brexit Minister.
For three months Labour has been working to put in place proper scrutiny of the Brexit process. Although each step has been incremental, the Government has moved since October – when they had no plan, were insisting there would be no running commentary and would not commit to a vote on the final Article 50 deal. We now have:
- A 76 page White Paper on which Parliament can hold them to account. Publishing a White Paper was one of Labour’s planned amendments for Committee Stage, but this was withdrawn after the Government’s concession.
- A commitment to match reporting back procedures that are in place in the European Parliament during the Article 50 process.
- A vote in Parliament on the proposed draft Article 50 deal before it is considered by the EU Parliament or Council, as well as a second vote on the final EU-UK deal that will shape our future relationship with the EU.
Although we didn’t succeed with all of the party’s amendments, taken together these show progress has been made. But when Article 50 is triggered, its just the start of the Brexit process. It is the substance of negotiations that really matter.
Keir Starmer has made it clear that Labour will hold the Government to account throughout and push for the best possible Brexit deal: one that prioritises jobs, the economy and living standards. We will fight against a damaging Tory Brexit and vigorously oppose any threat to rip up existing economic and social protections, including slashing corporate taxes and public spending. We will also demand that all EU-derived rights – including workers’ rights, human rights, consumer rights and environmental protections – are entrenched in full, unqualified and non-time limited.
The Bill has now moved to the Lords where it is undergoing further scrutiny before returning to the House of Commons.