European Union (Withdrawal) Act

Part of Business of the House (Today) – in the House of Commons at 3:00 pm on 12th March 2019.

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Photo of Jeremy Corbyn Jeremy Corbyn Leader of Her Majesty's Official Opposition, Leader of the Labour Party 3:00 pm, 12th March 2019

Indeed, and of course the political declaration is not a legally binding document. It is a declaration, and no more than that. I share my hon. Friend’s concerns about much of it, and about the changes that need to be made to it. This is another reason why we should be rejecting the Prime Minister’s motion this evening. It is simply not good enough to vote for a blindfold Brexit, so we will vote against this deal tonight and I urge all Members to do so.

We only have this vote tonight—just as we only had the same vote on the same deal in January—because Labour Members demanded from the very beginning that Parliament should have a meaningful vote. I want to pay tribute to our shadow Brexit team, our shadow International Trade team, our shadow Attorney General and our shadow Solicitor General, who have done so much to ensure that Parliament has proper scrutiny over this process. The European Union (Withdrawal) Bill started out with Henry VIII powers that would have ridden roughshod over Parliament and over our ability to hold the Executive to account. It was the actions of our Front Bench, our teams and our Back Benchers that forced the situation so that we could have a meaningful vote in Parliament; otherwise, this would not have happened. The right to that scrutiny, to hold the Government to account and to ensure the interests of our constituents is absolutely vital. It is something that I have exercised to the full in my time in this House.

I believe that there is a majority in this House for the sort of sensible, credible and negotiable deal that Labour has set out, and I look forward to Parliament taking back control so that we can succeed where this Government have so blatantly failed. There are people all around this country at the moment who are very concerned about their future, their communities and their jobs. EU nationals are concerned about their very right to remain in this country, as is the case for British nationals living across the European Union. Parliament owes it to all of them to get some degree of certainty by rejecting the Prime Minister’s proposal and bringing forward what we believe to be a credible set of alternatives. Parliament should do its job today and say no to the Prime Minister.