EU (Withdrawal) Bill

Next week MPs will debate the EU (Withdrawal) Bill when it returns to the House of Commons with the 15 suggested amendments made by the House of Lords.

The amendments are on a variety of issues regarding Brexit, from the Customs Union negotiations to the Northern Irish border.

I am normally a staunch supporter of the House of Lords but it would be wrong for any of these amendments to be used to overturn the outcome of the referendum. The role of the Lords is to amend and correct legislation, not to block the will of the people.  Any amendment that seeks to do this must be overturned by the House of Commons. Any changes made by the Commons will again have to return to the Lords in a process often referred to as ‘ping-pong.’ 

This Bill does not affect the negotiations taking places in Brussels and it is not the mechanism by which the UK will leave the EU, but it does ensure that EU law becomes British law on the day we leave. This approach will provide both continuity and certainty and allows for us to change the law to suit the UK in the future.  

To this end, I hope that all the amendments will be defeated by members of the House of Commons and we do not end up in a situation where this legislation gets pushed back and forth between the two chambers of Parliament. 

It is absolutely right to have a robust debate on Brexit, but it is also time to get on with finishing the job.  In June 2016 this country voted to leave the EU. We did not vote to stay in parts of the EU and leave other parts, so we must leave the Single Market and Customs Union and do so in a way that keeps Northern Ireland fully within the UK.

Leaving the EU means we will have the right to make our own laws and trade deals and to control our own borders. It will also return our sovereignty over them.

As the elected body of Parliament, it is only right that the members of the House of Commons, not the House of Lords, should have the greatest say on this Bill. I anticipate we will have a large number of votes throughout the night on Tuesday but it should result in a significant amount of progress being made on Brexit. People just want us to get on with leaving the EU and I hope after Tuesday we will have done just that.