• European Union (Withdrawal) Bill

    The Government’s European Union (Withdrawal) Bill, also known as the “Repeal Bill” will convert EU law into UK law so that there is certainty from the moment we leave the EU. This will then allow Parliament to repeal, amend or replace any EU-derived laws as necessary in the future. I do not underestimate this task. However, in my view, the Government’s Bill as it stands at the moment is not fit for purpose.

    I appreciate concerns about the extent of powers that have been outlined in this Bill to allow Ministers to make changes to other laws. These are sweeping powers that require effective oversight or accountability. However, such safeguards are currently lacking from the Bill. The Bill also lacks clear enforcement mechanisms.

    I will fight against any attempts to diminish, qualify or limit existing workers’ rights, equality law, consumer rights or environmental protections throughout the consideration of this Bill. These should be protected without qualifications, limitations or sunset clauses. However, I also believe it is important that we make sure UK rights keep pace with EU rights after Brexit too. As the Bill does not currently provide for this, it will be something that I will be pressing for.

    Brexit should also not be an excuse to hoard powers in Westminster and I believe the Bill takes the wrong approach on devolution. I believe there should be a presumption throughout this process that devolved powers transferred from the EU will go straight to the relevant region or nation. I would also like to see all relevant and substantial rights in the EU’s Charter of Fundamental Rights converted into domestic law. The existence of a single, clear document of rights is clearly beneficial in helping people understand their rights but the Government has refused to include this.

    I hope the Government will listen carefully to the points that have been raised, including by a number of organisations, and make the improvements that are necessary.

    My focus in the weeks and months ahead will be to keep the pressure in the Government to get the best Brexit deal for St Helens North, Merseyside, the North West and the country as whole.