Just before Christmas, parliament completed 8 days of debate on the EU Withdrawal Bill.
Just before Christmas, parliament completed 8 days of debate on the EU Withdrawal Bill. There have been nearly 500 amendments to the original bill, and with amendments to amendments the process became incredibly complex.
The original purpose of the bill was to bring all EU legislation into UK law so that our country would have a functioning body of law once we leave the EU. It raises fundamental questions of democracy: who makes the decisions - parliament, the government, the people - and how do we hold different decision makers to account and how and by whom can decisions be amended or changed.
Other things are at stake as well. If we want to trade with the EU, as we do now, who regulates that trade? How do we transfer data? If we change our laws and regulations, for example on data exchange and protection, what is the mechanism to keep legally aligned with EU laws and regulations after EU law is no longer our law.
These big questions are finally being discussed and it is a shame that these discussions weren’t had before the referendum in June 2016 because they bring to light how very difficult it is to break up something that has grown over 40 years.
Parliament is also fighting for the right to have a ‘meaningful vote’ on the Brexit deal, but the Liberal Democrats want to take this one step further. The original decision to leave the EU came from the people. Now we have interfered with parliamentary democracy by having a referendum, parliament doesn’t have the legitimacy to confirm, update or review the decision by the people in 2016. The people must finish what the people started.
Here in Bath, I have been hearing about the plans local businesses have to tackle plastic pollution, visiting local religious groups and attending carol services, and getting even more signatures on my ‘Save the Min’ petition.
In the six months since being the MP for Bath, my team and I have dealt with over 3000 items of casework for local people, and we’re anticipating a busy year ahead. If you have an issue that you think I may be able to help with, please do get in touch by emailing [email protected], or ringing 01225 307024. Happy New Year!