This week Parliament voted on a number of Lords amendments to the EU Withdrawal Bill.
These were the most significant votes in Parliament since the start of the Article 50 process and came at time when the negotiations have stalled, and the Cabinet remains split over two unworkable customs options. Stephen has called for the UK to remain in a customs union after Brexit.
Here is an outline of some of the key votes in the Commons this week:
• The key amendment on day one of this week was Lords Amendment 19, concerning a ‘meaningful vote’. This amendment would have ensured that if any withdrawal agreement is rejected by the House of Commons, it would then be for Parliament – and not the Prime Minister – to decide next steps via a resolution of the House.
In the face of likely defeat on this amendment, the Prime Minister was forced to offer apparent concessions to her backbenchers and a commitment to revisit this issue in the House of Lords. The terms of this concession remain unclear. Stephen voted to retain this amendment, but following the Government’s 11th hour concession, LA19 was defeated.
• Lords amendment 51 would commit the Government to negotiating the UK remaining in the European Economic Area (EEA). He did not vote for this amendment on this occasion as it did not command enough support to enjoy any likelihood of passing. However, he remains highly sympathetic to the aims of LA51 and is keeping all options on the table to protect Portsmouth’s jobs and economy. Stephen did vote for an amendment to LA51 in favour of a customs union and relationship with the single market.
• Lords amendment 4 would help protect EU-derived rights post Brexit (including workplace rights, consumer rights and environmental standards). The Lords’ amendment would ensure that any EU law directly relating to employment, consumers and environmental rights can only be modified by primary legislation or a statutory instrument subject to enhanced scrutiny procedure. Absent this, these right could be weakened with only minimal parliamentary scrutiny. Stephen voted for this amendment.
• Lords amendment 5 would ensure that the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights continues to apply to retained EU law. Stephen voted to retain this amendment.
• Lords amendment 3 would place a statutory duty on the Government to introduce legislation which establishes an agency for protecting the environment with the same powers currently held by the EU Commission and which gives effect to the EU’s environmental principles. Stephen supported this amendment.
Stephen has repeatedly written to Brexit Ministers requesting impact analysis for Portsmouth and the Solent Area and continues to fight against a Tory hard Brexit and for Portsmouth jobs.
Stephen Morgan MP, said:
“This week marked an important moment in the journey of the Brexit Bill.
Parliamentary Sovereignty is a pillar of our constitution and I’m proud to have voted to defend it, the House of Commons must have a say on the final deal.
With a weak and divided Government insistent on leading our country off a cliff-edge, it’s more important than ever that Parliament take back control from the executive and put Portsmouth jobs and our economy first.”