Thursday 26 January 2017 / 5:07 PM 2017 Press Archive / The Latest from Labour

Labour tables targeted amendments to Article 50 Bill

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.”