We must avoid a cliff-edge Brexit

Over the last few days, MP for Portsmouth South, Stephen Morgan, voted with other Members of Parliament on various amendments to the Government’s European Union (Withdrawal) Bill in the House of Commons.

Commenting on the Bill, Stephen Morgan MP said:

“In the 2016 referendum, while Portsmouth voted to leave. But let me be clear. This Bill is not about whether we exit the EU, but how. In its current form, the EU Withdrawal Bill is fatally flawed. It would hand unprecedented, unaccountable power to Government ministers, leaving Parliament on the side-lines as the UK undergoes the most important political and economic transformation in recent history.

I won’t accept the watering down of workers’ rights, consumer rights or environmental standards as a result of Brexit. Nor will I accept our Parliament being silenced. Our Parliament must be the ultimate decision-maker – that’s exactly why I won’t accept the Tories’ attempt to cram through their own agenda with zero accountability or oversight.  

Unlike the Conservatives, Labour will fight for a jobs first Brexit that protects our economy and workers’ rights, and develop a strong progressive relationship with the EU. That’s why we tabled amendments to remove the widest use of ‘Henry VII’ powers and protect against a damaging ‘no deal’ scenario.

The Government’s own amendments were entirely unnecessary and inconsistent with our clear position on the need for strong transitional arrangements.”

Shadow Secretary of State for Exiting the EU, Sir Keir Starmer MP, said:

“These amendments are a desperate gimmick from the Prime Minister. They’re about party management not the national interest.

There’s no dispute that Britain will leave the European Union in March 2019. Labour voted to trigger Article 50 and we did so knowing that we would leave the EU within two years. That means Britain leaving the European Council and no longer having Members of the European Parliament.

As our election manifesto made clear, Labour accepts and respects the referendum result and we will fight for a Brexit deal that puts jobs and the economy first, and maintains rights and protections.

That’s why we want to see time-limited transitional arrangements on the same basic terms as we have now after we leave the EU to avoid a cliff-edge Brexit, including in the single market and in a customs union during that period.

The Government’s amendments to their own Bill would stand in the way of an orderly transition and increase the chance of Britain crashing out of Europe without an agreement.

Theresa May should stop pandering to the ‘no deal’ enthusiasts in her own party and withdraw these amendments. If not, Labour will vote against them to support our own amendments and guarantee a transition that protects jobs and living standards.”