MP’s Column

The successful vote for an amendment to the EU Withdrawal Bill last week cheered those opposed to leaving the EU and opposed to the PM’s Brexit negotiations. I voted against the amendment because I felt Government had taken steps to demonstrate that there would be a meaningful vote on Brexit. The EU Withdrawal Bill ensures that the UK does this in the smoothest possible way and honours the referendum result whilst providing certainty for businesses. David Davis MP, Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, confirmed that the Government had committed to holding a vote on the final deal in Parliament as soon as possible after the negotiations had concluded. He clarified that this vote would take the form of a resolution in both Houses of Parliament and would cover both the Withdrawal Agreement and the terms of our future relationship. The Government would not implement any parts of the Withdrawal Agreement until after this vote had taken place.

In addition to this, Prime Minister Theresa May said, ‘We will ensure that there is a meaningful vote in this House. There will then, of course, be an opportunity for Parliament to look at the withdrawal agreement and implementation Bill. We were very clear that we will not commence any statutory instruments until that meaningful vote has taken place, but as currently drafted what the amendment says is that we should not put any of those arrangements and statutory instruments into place until the withdrawal agreement and implementation Bill has reached the statute book. That could be at a very late stage in the proceedings, which could mean we are not able to have the orderly and smooth exit from the European Union that we wish to have.’ For those of us in Parliament wishing to secure the best possible exit from British membership of the EU the Government’s commitment to a Parliamentary vote on the final deal was enough.

For now I’d like to put Brexit to one side and wish everyone a very happy Christmas. Over recent journeys to and from London I’ve noticed a number of happy reunions between loved ones. There have been students home for the end of term, also family members returning for Christmas including a young lady visiting home after four years overseas. There is something heart-warming about these scenes and they serve as a reminder of what a special time Christmas can be. I’m also aware of how lonely life during this season can be. The truth is that during the course of each week I meet far too many people who are lonely. We must find more ways to reach out to these people, to offer company, to let them know they are valued and have much to offer. I am dedicating 2018 to this cause and I will look for opportunities to reduce loneliness and I welcome you to join me. So much is already done in our communities to help but there is so much more to do.