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2nd Day

Part of European Union (Withdrawal) Bill – in the House of Commons at 8:22 pm on 11th September 2017.

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Photo of Luke Graham Luke Graham Conservative, Ochil and South Perthshire 8:22 pm, 11th September 2017

To clarify, there is an amendment on the Order Paper, and I would suggest that some of those provisions should have been included in it.

As many hon. Members across the House have said, we would be open to some of the suggested amendments. The Government have committed to listening to the amendments and reacting to them as the parliamentary process progresses. There have not been many constructive measures from the Opposition, so, with other hon. Members, may I suggest that if they respect democracy, the Bill and the vote of the British people they should vote for the Bill? I say that as someone who voted remain, along with many of my constituents. However, as a democrat, I will support the Bill to make sure that we go through the process.

Clauses 7, 8 and 9 delegate considerable powers to Ministers. On Thursday, many Opposition Members said that the delegation of powers was unprecedented, but I draw their attention to section 32(4) of the Immigration Act 2016, which allows Ministers to

“make such provision amending, repealing or revoking any provision…as the Secretary of State considers appropriate in consequence of the regulations.”

Although provisions in the Bill are wider in scope, they are not entirely unprecedented; I wanted to draw that to the attention of the House. I understand even as a new Member that there is a lot of politics at play in our discussion of the Bill, but it is complicated enough. Our constituents do not want us to blur lines; they want us to clarify them. I would urge Ministers and other hon. Members to decouple myths from facts. There have been people in Henry VIII costume on the lawns outside the House trying to grab airtime, and “Westminster power grabs” creates headlines, but what our constituents really want is for us to honour the vote and get on with delivering the best possible Brexit.

May I suggest to Ministers an example of where that would be particularly helpful? The Human Rights Act 1998 appears to be protected under clause 7(6). Some Opposition Members are thinking about opposing the Bill because it does not transpose the EU charter of fundamental rights, but I am assured that all rights contained in the charter are in the Human Rights Act or other pieces of legislation. To help clarify that point, I urge Ministers to list the protections in current British law, so that we can compare and contrast them with those in the charter of fundamental rights and give assurances to Opposition Members that those rights are protected. We can then take those assurances back to our constituents, who care a lot about this.

The Bill represents the democratic vote of the United Kingdom. As I have said, I support it, but I hope that the Government act on their commitment to listen to learned colleagues in all parts of the House to ensure that substantive measures in the Bill receive the appropriate level of parliamentary scrutiny as the Bill proceeds through the House. If the Government establish a clear framework of strong parliamentary oversight, I hope that we can engage with the detail of the Bill, and finally introduce the substantive Bills that hon. Members and our constituents care about, including Bills on immigration and trade.