My article for Walsall Advertiser – 2 February 2017

Here is the “View from the House” published in the Walsall Advertiser on 2 February 2017:

This week Parliament is debating and voting on the Government’s Bill on Exiting the European Union because our Supreme Court rightly decided that the process must be begun by an Act of Parliament and not the Prime Minister using executive powers.


Article 50 is the procedure that is used under the Lisbon Treaty to start the process of leaving the EU and enacts the result of the referendum. It was a democratic vote, decided by 51.9% – 48.1% to leave the EU. It is for this reason that I will be voting to trigger Article 50 to give effect to the referendum result.


Theresa May did not want to give Parliament any say in this. Then she announced her 12 points of principle to leaving the EU in a speech to invited guests only rather than Parliament. Now the Bill consists of only 2 short clauses.


Businesses, universities, research institutions, and all of us who benefit from EU law want to preserve the important rights we have. The work on preserving those rights and access to the Single Market will come after Article 50 is triggered. Our job in Parliament is to shape the deal and make sure the Government gets the best deal for us all.


That is why the Opposition Labour Party have tabled a series of amendments to that Bill which should minimise the impact of the vote on jobs and workers rights, the economy and security, seeking to preserve the advances we have made whilst establishing a new mutually beneficial relationship with the EU.


The amendments would ensure Parliament has the first say on any proposed deal, protecting workers’ rights, securing full tariff and impediment free access to the Single Market; ensure there is robust and regular Parliamentary scrutiny , with reports to Parliament at least every two months on the progress being made on negotiations.


Also a guarantee of mutual rights for UK nationals currently living in the EU and EU nationals living in the UK, requiring the Government to consult regularly with the governments in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland and publish impact assessments on proposed trading relationships with the EU. Moreover the Government must seek to retain all existing EU tax avoidance and evasion measures post-Brexit.


During the 2 years the Government has for negotiations, Labour will work to mitigate any damage to the UKs interests and represent the views of all whatever your referendum vote.