On Tuesday I voted against Boris Johnson’s revised Withdrawal Bill.
I’ve read this bill – page after page of what amounts to nothing less than a charter for deregulation and a race to the bottom.
A deal and a bill that fails to protect our rights and our planet, fails to protect jobs and the economy, fails to protect every region and nation in the United Kingdom.
This Bill confirms that Northern Ireland is really in the Customs Union of the EU and goods will be subjected to tariffs.
On Saturday the Prime Minister said there would be no checks – but on Monday the Brexit Secretary confirmed to the Lords European Union Committee that, under the government’s proposals, Northern Irish businesses that send goods to Great Britain will have to complete export declaration forms. The government estimates exit declaration costs will be between £15 to £56 per customs declaration.
This is a Bill of huge significance and complexity. It will decide the future of our country and the future of our economy. To propose MPs are given just two days to consider and vote on all 68 clauses is an abuse of Parliament and a blatant attempt to dodge accountability, to dodge scrutiny, to dodge any proper debate.
Importantly, there has been no economic impact assessment on the consequences of this revised bill.
If this deal is good for our country why hasn’t the Government produced a single scrap of evidence to show this is the case?
That’s why Labour sought more time to scrutinise this bill. Labour wants a Customs Union, a strong single market relationship, hardwired commitments on workers’ rights, non-regression of environmental standards, and loopholes closed to avoid the threat of a No Deal Brexit once and for all. And I believe it’s only right that when a bill has been agreed by a majority of MPs that the people should have a final vote.