The European Economic Area Offers An Opportunity To Stay In The Single Market And Control Movement Of Labour

Politics Home For almost eighteen months now the country has been grappling with the vexed question of how best to retain the benefits of the single market without having to accept the free movement of labour.   We know that if we were to cut our economy off from the single integrated market of 500 million consumers on our doorstep this would have a catastrophic impact on jobs, livelihoods and communities across the length and breadth of our country.  And we also know that the so-called ‘four freedoms’ which form the basis of the Single Market - ie the frictionless movement of goods, capital, services and labour across the EU - are indivisible. In other words, there can be no cherry-picking - if you want full participation in the Single Market then you have to accept all four of the four freedoms. Continue reading

It Is Our Duty As Parliamentarians To Express The Mind Of The People On All Matters

In one of the last debates before Christmas, I spoke in favour of Amendment 43 to the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill which would give Parliament the power to control the length and basic terms of transitional arrangements, and would allow Parliament to start the clock on the sunset clauses within the Bill. Continue reading

Jurisdiction Of European Court Of Justice Will Apply In Precisely The Same Way Now As It Will During The Transition Period

As the Prime Minister returned to the House to update us on her meeting with the European Council I asked her about the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice. The Prime Minister confirmed what we already knew, that transition would mean everything staying the same, only without us having any say at all including full jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice... So much for taking back control! Continue reading

My Interview With Nick Clegg

 (Photo credit: Times News Syndication) House Magazine The problem with writing anything about Brexit is that in the few days between first draft and pressing send the entire picture can change, multiple times. For example, when I sat down with Nick Clegg in Westminster on Monday 4 December, Theresa May was sitting down for her fateful lunch with Jean-Claude Juncker. All morning Number 10 had been briefing that a glorious new chapter in the negotiations was about to open: the Prime Minister had miraculously managed to conjure up a form of words on the Northern Irish border that was somehow going to satisfy the EU, the Irish government, the DUP and the Brextremists in her own party. Continue reading

Parliament To Take Back Control With A Meaningful Vote On The Brexit Deal

On the night the Government lost a vote on Brexit in the House, I spoke in favour of the amendment tabled by Dominic Grieve MP. It is vital that Parliament has meaningful vote on the final Brexit deal and the opportunity to send the government back to secure a better deal, if the one the come to us with is inadequate. Continue reading

Without UK Institutions To Take On The Job Of EU Agencies, We Will See Fundamental Rights, Protections And Regulations Being Removed By The Back Door Having Been Rendered Unenforceable.

I tabled an amendment to the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill to stop vital rights, freedoms and protections vanishing by the backdoor. I spoke about the amendment and that unless we have UK bodies to carry out the function of existing EU bodies, we'll see rights, freedoms and protections disappear by the back door without anyone there to enforce them. You can watch my speech below.  Continue reading

Letter to David Davis - EU Agencies

I have written to the Minister for Exiting the European Union about the government's plans to manage the UK's relationship with EU agencies through any transition and after exiting the European Union.  According to the House of Commons there are a number of EU agencies that have no provision for the membership, participation, observer status or even cooperation with third countries.  You can read my letter below Continue reading

Financial Settlement Is Contingent Only On The Withdrawal Agreement And The Transitional Arrangements, Not On The Future Partnership

The Prime Minister returned to the House of Commons to update the House on the agreement she reached with the EU in the Brexit negotiations. I asked her about the financial settlement: Continue reading

Exiting EU Committee Armagh Session

I spent a fascinating day in Northern Ireland with the Committee for Exiting the European Union. The border issue is about so much more than trade. It is about identity, community and peace. In the committee session I asked Deputy Chief Constable Drew Harris, PSNI and Simon York, Director, HMRC Fraud Investigation Service, about the co-operation needed with our EU partners and the impact on security.  Continue reading

Brexit Impact Assessment Papers

  The Permanent Secretary for the Department for Exiting the EU, Philip Rycroft, appeared before the Committee for Exiting the EU and I asked him about the Brexit impact assessment papers. Continue reading