Women's Equality Network Wales Mentoring Reception

It was great to meet Kate Ellis from Baglan at the Women's Equality Network Wales reception in Parliament. Kate was one of the twenty-six aspirational women who are part of WEN Wales' mentoring programme to get more women, and more diverse women, into public and political life. WEN Wales has done fantastic work championing equality for women in politics and public life.  Continue reading

NPT Cancer Challenge Parliamentary Reception

As the Chancellor prepared to deliver his Budget on Monday, I took time away from the Budget build-up to welcome members of Neath Port Talbot Cancer Challenge to Parliament for a reception to celebrate their 20th anniversary. Continue reading

Backstop Plans For Irish Border

The Committee for Exiting the EU heard from representatives of industries operating on both sides of the Irish border, such as food and drink, retail and manufacturing. They looked at what the impact of the various backstop proposals would be on trade between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK, as well as trade with the EU. I asked about the systems to track and examine goods crossing the Irish border, about organised crime exploiting loopholes in those systems and VAT. Continue reading

Raab And Meaningful Vote

I questioned Dominic Raab over Parliament's meaningful vote on the Brexit deal. Continue reading

Committee for Exiting the European Union Hears From Government Department Permanent Secretaries

The No Deal option is a charade. It's unthinkable. To sum up evidence our Committee heard: cost to UK exporters: £4.5-6bn;  only 2% of British biz are prepared; no proper plans for reciprocal healthcare. It's time to end this chaos and pursue and EEA-based Brexit. Sir Ian Cheshire, Government Lead Non-Executive, Cabinet Office, Bernadette Kelly, Permanent Secretary, Department for Transport, Jon Thompson, Permanent Secretary and Chief Executive, HMRC and Sir Chris Wormald, Permanent Secretary, Department of Health and Social Care, all appeared before the Committee for Exiting the European Union to answer questions about the Government's capability to deliver Brexit, coordination work across Whitehall, and the 76 technical notices published since the end of August. Continue reading

Surely Salzburg Summit Taught Her That The White Paper Was Completely And Utterly Dead In The Water

The Prime Minister keeps telling us that her Chequers white paper will deliver frictionless trade, post-Brexit. The Salzburg summit showed us all that Chequers is completely dead in the water, yet incredibly she just keeps on flogging that dead horse. Time for Plan B: an EEA-based Brexit. Continue reading

Certainty For Business And Friction-Less Trade

Sir Simon Fraser, Deputy Chairman and Adviser to Europe Programme at Chatham House and former Permanent Secretary, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Julian Jessop, Chief Economist at Institute for Economic Affairs, and Jill Rutter, Programme Director at Institute for Government appeared in front of the Committee for Exiting the European Union. They were giving evidence on cross-Government preparations for Brexit and for no deal, and post-Brexit preparations. I asked them about the Chequers proposal and whether it provides certainty for business, and about friction-less trade. Continue reading

Business Contingency Planning For A No Deal Brexit

Richard Burnett, Chief Executive of the Road Haulage Association, Martin McTague, Policy and Advocacy Chair of Federation of Small Businesses, Andrew Opie, Director of Food and Sustainability at British Retail Consortium, and Mike Thompson, Chief Executive of Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry appeared before the Committee for Exiting the European Union. They gave evidence on contingency planning being undertaken by businesses large and small in the event of a no deal Brexit. Continue reading

Pressure Points If We Have A No Deal Brexit

The Committee for Exiting the European Union heard from Sir Amyas Morse, Comptroller and Auditor General, National Audit Office about Brexit preparedness and coordination across Whitehall. Sir Amyas talked about 'points of failure' and I asked him where these pressure points will be. Continue reading

Northern Ireland Backstop Has To Be Time-Limited, But Minister Can't Tell Us The End Date

Dominic Raab told the House that the Northern Ireland backstop has to be time-limited. I asked him to tell us which date he has in mind. Incredibly, with just a week to go until the crucial Brussels summit, he was unable to tell us. Continue reading