I have lived and worked in Brightside and Hillsborough throughout my life and I have seen the difference that the funding and protections for workers as a result of our membership has made for the lives of of my family, friends and neighbours. It was in order to protect these rights and local investment that I campaigned for Britain to remain a part of the European Union.
On June 23 the country took a historic decision to leave the European Union by 52% against 48%. Whilst this was not what I voted for, I respect the democratic will of the people and as a result, I will vote for the Bill to invoke Article 50 which will the start the process of leaving the European Union - but under conditions that ensure a continuation of worker’s rights and environmental regulations amongst other protections.
I am very clear that Brexit must work for everyone in the UK. We will not allow the Tories to turn this country into a tax haven for corporations, or let workers rights and the protections for our environment fall by the wayside. Labour have tabled many amendments to the Article 50 Bill to hold the Government to account.
Our amendments will ensure that the House of Commons has the first say on any proposed deal. If we’re really taking back control, then Parliament must be sovereign. This should be accountable and transparent with regular reports to Parliament by the Secretary of State.
Negotiations must seek to protect workers’ rights and secure full tariff and impediment free access to the Single Market. And this isn’t just about UK citizens. We need guaranteed legal rights for EU nationals living in the UK.
Theresa May might be pleased she can ignore the devolved regional parliaments of the UK, but Labour’s amendments will require the Government to consult regularly with the governments in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland throughout the Brexit negotiations. Labour’s amendment would put the Joint Ministerial Committee (JMC) on a statutory footing and require the UK Government to consult the JMC at least every two months.
We shouldn’t be proposing new deals in the dark. Our amendments will require the Government to publish impact assessments conducted since the referendum of any new proposed trading relationship with the EU. We need to take decisions based on facts, not rhetoric.
Britain should not be turned into a corporate tax haven. We want to ensure the Government must seek to retain all existing EU tax avoidance and evasion measures post-Brexit. As a local MP and as a Shadow Minister I will always fight for the best deal possible for working people.