European Union (Withdrawal) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:05 pm on 7th September 2017.

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Photo of Keir Starmer Keir Starmer Shadow Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union 1:05 pm, 7th September 2017

It certainly could. The only way out of that would be to have multiple exit days. Members might think I am joking, but someone who drafted the Bill has thought of that, and it is conceivable that there could be multiple exit days, all chosen by a Minister and not by Parliament.

The combined effect of the Bill’s provisions would be to reduce MPs to spectators as power pours into the hands of Ministers and the Executive. This is an unprecedented power-grab—“rule by decree” is not a mis-description—and an affront to Parliament and to accountability. The name of the Bill was changed from the great repeal Bill to the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill. The word “great” should have been preserved, however. The title should have been changed to the great power grab Bill. Labour voted for the article 50 legislation, because we accept the referendum result. As a result, the UK is leaving the EU. That we are leaving is settled. How we leave is not. This Bill invites us to surrender all power and influence over that question to the Government and to Ministers. That would betray everything that we are sent here to do. Unless the Government make very significant concessions before we vote on Monday, Labour has tabled a reasoned amendment and will vote against the Bill.