Making sense of Brexit?
Supreme Courts. White Papers. Commons Debates. I’m sure many of you are Brexit’d-out. Allow me to try and make sense of some of it.
Last week the Supreme Court ruled that Theresa May cannot fast-track Article 50 through the UK Parliament. Forcing Tory ministers to introduce emergency legislation to authorise the UK’s departure from the EU. This doesn’t block Brexit, but rather allows us to hold the government to some account over the type of Brexit it chooses to take.
Following on from the ruling, Labour demanded that a While Paper be published to inform the Article 50 process. After much persistence, the PM caved and the European Union Bill (Notification of Withdrawal) was introduced – with the 2nd reading (and first opportunity for MPs to debate the bill) taking place today.
Labour accepts the referendum result. However, that does not mean we will give the Government a blank cheque. We will vigorously oppose any threat to rip up existing economic and social protections, including slashing corporate taxes and public spending. In short, living standards and public services must not be used as a bargaining chip in Brexit negotiations.
Many of these issues were brought to light when the Maltese Presidency visited the Industry, Research and Energy Committee to discuss the importance of tackling energy poverty. The EU’s commitment to promoting energy efficiency highlights the need for the UK to enact similar measures post-Brexit. If the UK wants to be an industry leader and protect our most vulnerable citizens, we must implement ambitious energy legislation and targets.
And this highlights why MPs must be given the opportunity to debate Article 50 and May’s Brexit plan. Huge swathes of legislation from energy to industry, workers’ rights to human rights, economic and environmental policy are going to be altered behind closed doors. Do we really trust the Tories to protect the interests of working people and public services?
That is why the PM will not be given a blank cheque and Labour will work to ensure that any deal upholds our hard fought values.