Labour tables targeted amendments to Article 50 Bill. What do you think of them?

Your comments are invited.

Today Labour has tabled a number of targeted amendments to the Article 50 Bill (the European Union [Notification of Withdrawal] Bill).

The amendments seek to improve the process, and would ensure Parliament is able to hold the Government to account throughout the Brexit negotiations.

Labour is also tabling an anti-tax haven amendment to ensure the Prime Minister doesn’t use Brexit to weaken Britain’s laws concerning tax avoidance and evasion.

Labour will also support two amendments drafted by Melanie Onn MP which would protect workers’ rights and ensure there is no drop in employment protection after the UK leaves the EU.

Labour’s amendments will:

i)                    Allow a meaningful vote in Parliament on the final Brexit deal. Labour’s amendment would ensure that the House of Commons has the first say on any proposed deal and that the consent of Parliament would be required before the deal is referred to the European Council and Parliament.

ii)                  Establish a number of key principles the Government must seek to negotiate during the process, including protecting workers’ rights, securing full tariff and impediment free access to the Single Market.

iii)                Ensure there is robust and regular Parliamentary scrutiny by requiring the Secretary of State to report to the House at least every two months on the progress being made on negotiations throughout the Brexit process

iv)                Guarantee legal rights for EU nationals living in the UK. Labour has repeatedly called for the Government to take this step, and this amendment would ensure EU citizens’ rights are not part of the Brexit negotiations.

v)                  Require the Government to consult regularly with the governments in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland throughout Brexit negotiations. Labour’s amendment would put the Joint Ministerial Committee (JMC) on a statutory footing and require the UK Government to consult the JMC at least every two months.

vi)                Require the Government to publish impact assessments conducted since the referendum of any new proposed trading relationship with the EU. This amendment seeks to ensure there is much greater clarity on the likely impact  of the Government’s decision to exit the Single Market and seek  new relationship with the Customs Union

vii)              Ensure the Government must seek to retain all existing EU tax avoidance and evasion measures post-Brexit

Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the Labour Party, said:

“Labour will seek to amend the Article 50 Bill to prevent the Government using Brexit to turn Britain into a bargain basement tax haven off the coast of Europe. Our country can do much better than that.

“We respect the will of the British people, but not the will of this Tory government to impose fewer rights at work and worse public services, while the largest corporations pay even less tax.

“Labour will ensure that the British people, through Parliament, have genuine accountability and oversight over the Brexit negotiations because no one voted to give Prime Minister Theresa May a free hand over our future.”

Keir Starmer, Shadow Secretary of State for Exiting the EU, said:

“Now that Parliament has the right to trigger Article 50, we need to ensure there is proper grip and accountability built into the process.

“Labour’s amendments will also seek to ensure the Prime Minister secures the best deal for the whole country – including tariff and impediment free access to the Single Market and that there is no drop in workers’ rights.

“Labour’s amendments will significantly improve the Government’s Bill – in particular by ensuring the House of Commons has the first say on the final Brexit deal and that there are regular opportunities to hold the Government to account.

“Labour’s amendments will also seek to ensure the Prime Minister secures the best deal for the whole country – including tariff and impediment free access to the Single Market and that there is no drop in workers’ rights. We will also vigorously oppose any plans to reduce powers to tackle tax avoidance or evasion’.

“The Article 50 Bill will be the start, not the end of the Brexit process and Labour will hold the Government to account all the way”

Melanie Onn MP, who has tabled two amendments with Frontbench support on workers’ rights said:

“The Tories can’t be allowed to use Brexit as an excuse to water-down people’s rights at work.

“That’s why I am introducing amendments to protect in British law all workers’ rights which originate from the EU, including maternity pay, equal rights for agency and part-time workers, and the working time directive.

“The British people voted to leave the EU, but I don’t think anyone was voting for more insecure contracts or a less safe workplace.”

Source: Labour Press — Labour tables targeted amendments to Article 50…

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18 thoughts on “Labour tables targeted amendments to Article 50 Bill. What do you think of them?

  1. Fibro confused

    Personally I think the amendments ask for what I would have wanted to keep if it had been part of a real campaign either leave or remain (I voted remain) protection for workers rights a must, membership of the single market or a damn good replacement realistic strategy. The tax part is a clever move, what interests me more is if these amendments are not made part of article 50 or something pretty close to them then what of the vote, or do I have this the wrong way round in this case, the vote will be made first and the amendments made through legislation that parts confused me (being in a hospital in crisis like all the others in the country leads to confusion)

  2. Barry Davies

    One can only hope that free for the eu our employment laws most of which the eu adopted anyway will be returned to the level they were before eu interference. It is difficult to see how labour could have tabled 50 amendments, they would of necessity be additions.

  3. Peter Hepworth

    Disappointed not to see environmental protection highlighted (though currently the CAP undermines it). All in all though I feel Labour should oppose the bill for reasons previously given.

  4. rupertrlmitchell

    Things are pretty bad for many people now in this country and I fear for how much worse things will get under this government once we lose the protection of European Court of Human Rights. The only way of controlling this government’s domination is to get rid of it. I am pretty certain that the majority of British people would want that decision to leave the EU reversed in the light of current information and a second referendum should be held to make certain.

    1. Peter Hepworth

      It’s all very well raising these important points, but the fact remains that a hard Brexit on the lines of the one sought by the government would require the support of 97% of the Leave voters to be the ‘will of the people’, which given the probable size of the protest element, is not remotely possible. Labour’s duty is therefore to join with rebel Tories, LibDems & the SNP and stop the government in its tracks. If it feels this is politically too dangerous Labour’s red line should at least be a second referendum at the conclusion of negotiations.

      1. Mike Sivier Post author

        Stopping the government in its tracks can only be done by amending the Article 50 Bill in a way that gains the support of rebel Tories.

    2. mohandeer

      Everyone was told lies by both camps and although I wanted to remain, we cannot reduce a democratic process to a “best of three” darts/tennis match, which is what the Brexiteers would demand. Democracy used to be at the heart of the Labour Party, let’s keep it that way.

  5. chriskitcher

    A second referendum is essential but this time the effects of any agreement must be produced by a totally independent body and these made known to every person in the UK.

    In fact with the significance of such a matter there has to be a specified number/percentage of the population in favour of leaving, not the mess that CaMoron left.

  6. GabrieleS

    That is all good and well. The protection of EU citizens in the UK rights will also be tabled as amendments (so I understand from press reports) by the Greens, SNP and Lib Dems. Hope that Labour will show some attempt at unity on this issue and that the amendment will be worded so it has “teeth” as a mere promise of rights is just completely meaningless. Such rights can be derived from the ECHR and do not necessarily include permanent residency, access to health care, pension etc as is now. This would mean the guarantee of an entitlement to remain on the same terms as currently the case.

  7. Martin

    The government will not devote sufficient time and amendments will simply be talked out and almost certainly not get anywhere. Keep your eye on the House of Lords though, not tot do anything substantive but for some eloquence and passion in respect to these issues.

  8. mohandeer

    Apart from Human Rights and Workers Rights and Tax Avoidance engineering scams(which the Conservatives have a poor record on)none of the tabled amendments represent anything that the Conservative Government would not demand of the Labour Party if it were in government, so there should be no problem in accepting them. No mention of Tory back peddling on environmental issues or food safety regs in the case of any foodstuffs from USA(Obama signed in the DARK act in order to hide it’s non compliance). I’m pleased to see item 4 “iv) “Guarantee legal rights for EU nationals living in the UK. Labour has repeatedly called for the Government to take this step, and this amendment would ensure EU citizens’ rights are not part of the Brexit negotiations”. Even Nigel Farage considered May’s proposal of stripping of these rights “despicable” which only the bigots and discriminatory nazi and fascist types would vote for(says a lot about May doesn’t it?)
    All considered, although only a few articles, they should be acceptable and mandatory.

  9. Kathryn Shanks

    Just vote against the triggering of Article 50! MPs need to debate the result of the referendum , in so far as it was “advisory”. Anything more than “advisory ” needed a super majority i.e. 60+%
    End of story! This needs to be repeated over and over…as much as the “lies of the Leave campaign” were repeated over and over!!

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      Why? It won’t make any difference to what the Tories decide to do.
      I hope you have read some of the articles I’ve written since this one, because they might help you understand why Mr Corbyn is right to do what he is doing.

Comments are closed.