Tommy Sheppard

MP for Edinburgh East

EU Withdrawal Bill Update - 21st December

speaking

It’s time for my last EU Withdrawal Bill of the year! The Bill passed through its first committee stage last night and now heads to report stage in January.  After eight days of debate and only one non-government amendment being voted through, there was no last minute controversy (well, apart from Damian Green being sacked but that’s another story).

We had six votes last night on a variety of amendments and new clauses. Initially we had thought there might be another defeat for the Government but, in order to avoid it, they brought forward a compromised amendment on the date and definition of exit day. The government amendment basically fixes the UK’s EU exit date as 11pm on 29 March 2019, unless ministers decide to change it. It passed by 319-294.

There was a further attempt at keeping us in the Customs Union through New Clause 13. Once again the Labour front benches instructed their member to abstain but 62 did join us in the Aye lobby. Despite this it was defeated 320-144.

Some folk have tried to argue with me that Labour MPs really have no choice on this as their constituents voted for Brexit and it would be electoral suicide to take oppose it. I’m sorry but I’m not buying that. Yes, lots of Labour constituencies did vote for Brexit but they didn’t necessarily vote for a hard, right-wing departure that will damage the economy and their jobs. You can stand up against the type of Brexit we are heading for without wanting to stay in the EU. And interestingly, the most recent indications are that large numbers of people who voted Labour in the 2017 election did so because they thought Labour WERE opposed to Brexit!

Labour did bring forward an amendment to try to stop the power grab by ministers – Amendment 349 would have prevented ministers using delegated powers to create criminal offences that carry custodial sentences. I, and my SNP colleagues, supported this but it was defeated 318-295.

My colleague Joanna Cherry QC proposed New Clause 44 which was defeated by 318 to 294. It would have required an independent evaluation of the impact of the Act on the health and social care sector to be made after consultation with ministers from the devolved administrations as well as service providers.

New Clause 54 would have ensured that exit day couldn’t be triggered without an implementation and transition period. Again it was defeated, this time by 316 to 296 

Finally, Amendment 120 was defeated by 319 to 23. The amendment would have meant there was a referendum on the terms of the deal before March 2019 (or the end of any extension to the two-year negotiation period).  I, and the SNP group, abstained on this one as while we weren’t elected on a mandate to support a second EU referendum, we didn’t want to remove the option at this stage.

So that’s it for 2017 – we’re all now off for a much needed rest (though you can almost guarantee that as soon as I send this, there’ll be a new political story and no rest will be had!) I’ll be back to work on the 4th January, in London from the 8th and the Bill returns on the 16th – I’ll continue to keep you up to date on its progress.

 

Westminster Hall debate on Yorkshire Devolution
May faces Tory civil war if UK becomes ‘EU colony’
 

Comments

No comments made yet. Be the first to submit a comment
Already Registered? Login Here
Guest
Thursday, 19 July 2018

Tommy's Blog Articles

Tommy Sheppard
11 July 2018
Tommy's Blog
Media

We need to talk about democracy. The UK government recently hosted its first ever “National Democracy Week” – with no sense of irony.

We absolutely should be celebrating the 90th anniversary of the equalisation of voting ages for men and women. Nobody would argue with that.

Tommy Sheppard
21 June 2018
Tommy's Blog
Media
Brexit rumbles on. Last week the SNP walked out of parliament in protest at not being allowed to discuss House of Lords amendments that will seriously affect how we are governed. If we can’t have our say inside the chamber we’ll make our arguments outside.Meanwhile the UK government say we’re scaremongering. What power grab say the Tories? They claim that the Scottish government will get more powe...
Tommy Sheppard
15 June 2018
Tommy's Blog
Buckle up folks – here comes a bumper blog as this week saw the return of the EU Withdrawal Bill after its time in the Lords. Or, more accurately, we were back voting on the EU Withdrawal Bill given there was precious little time for any actual debate. Over two days we were supposed to debate and vote on 20 different changes to the Bill that the Lords had put forward.You’ll likely have seen and he...
Tommy Sheppard
19 May 2018
Tommy's Blog
Okay I know that it’s probably not the best time to try to start a discussion about the monarchy. With a popular prince wedding his celebrity sweetheart in a lavish event resplendent in the glitz and glamour of Hollywood, it might be best for dissidents like myself to keep our republican heads below the parapet.Then again, with the nation’s attention focused on the royals because of the wedding, t...
Tommy Sheppard
02 May 2018
Tommy's Blog
Media
This is a piece about the SNP’s constitutional review. Exciting, huh? Well, maybe not, but important all the same.I know – at least I hope – no-one joins a political party to debate its internal structure. And set against debates on Indy, Brexit and the World War III this is unlikely to get anyone’s political juices flowing. People are motivated by ideas and feelings, powerful emotions that propel...