Many constituents have contacted me about the amendment tabled by Caroline Lucas MP to the recent EU (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill and Parliament rejecting it. I appreciate many constituents will be enquiring as to why this is and the associated media reports and social media queries. May I advise that this Bill was a paired down Bill solely focussed on delivery of the EU Exit by the end of January.
Pleased be assured the Government has engaged extensively with Parliament, businesses and civil society throughout the negotiations so far on the UK’s exit from the EU. I am confident it will continue to do so during the future relationship discussions.
Separately the shape of the future relationship has already been broadly agreed in the Political Declaration. The negotiations will address a range of issues including trade, mobility and security. The Withdrawal Agreement legally requires both sides to negotiate a future relationship in good faith based on that framework and Parliament has voted in favour of it. I am certain that the Government has no intention of reneging on workers’ rights or environmental protections. I say this as the Employment Minister and I engage strongly with BEIS Ministers and we have a forthcoming bill to confirm this.
I, like many MPs, did not support the amendment in this legislation and it was defeated by 251 to 347 votes as the issues raised above where debated extensively in the Bills progression.
At the General Election in December, the British electorate supported the Government’s proposals for leaving the EU and gave the Prime Minister a strong mandate for the next phase of negotiations.
I will be working to help us secure a positive, comprehensive agreement that works fully in the interests of businesses and people on either side of the Channel.
This week the EU Withdrawal Agreement has been simplified to be focused on what it should effect-leaving the EU. Support for unaccompanied minors will be included in the new Immigration Bill instead-sensible legislatively. Nothing has changed and nor should it through this passage of legislation as this is purely about us leaving the EU on the 31st January and moving into a transition period to negotiate our future relationship.