This evening, I will be voting against the deeply flawed European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill that would implement the Prime Minister’s Brexit deal. There is no question in my mind that it would lead to a race to the bottom on workers’ rights and environmental standards, a weakened economy and the auction of our NHS to the highest bidder.
I will also be voting against the Government’s desperate attempt to pass the Bill in just 3 days to avoid parliamentary scrutiny. To put that timetable in context, it would mean that we had more time to debate the Wild Animals in Circuses Act, which affected 19 animals, than we will have to decide the future direction of our country. It’s simply outrageous.
Over the days ahead, colleagues and I plan to amend the Bill with the help of green groups to ensure the protection of environmental rights – which currently aren’t mentioned at all. I will also look carefully at amendments tabled by colleagues from across the House on guaranteeing workers’ rights, a commitment to a customs union, and closing the loophole that allows a no-deal Brexit at the end of the transition period.
Whatever happens next, I remain steadfast that I will not support any deal unless it is put to the public in a confirmatory vote with remain on the ballot paper.