Jared votes in support of a Meaningful Vote and a Customs Union

On Wednesday 20th June the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill returned, once again, to the House of Commons. The Bill has had a long, difficult journey through Parliament. From the very beginning The Government has ignored concerns with the Bill, listening only to a minority of Hard Brexit Tory Backbenchers.

I was disappointed, but not surprised, that last week we were only given a total of twelve hours to debate the myriad of amendments put forward. With the huge significance of this bill, I find it outrageous that we were given such little time to go over the amendments and their implications.

The Government’s approach to Brexit has been chaotic at best and downright dangerous at worst. The Cabinet is rife with divisions and a dangerous game of leak and counter-leak has consistently undermined both the Government's competence and negotiating position.

Last week I voted for the UK to be part of a new comprehensive customs union. This is the best way to make sure there are no tariffs, customs checks, or a hard border in Northern Ireland. It was incredibly frustrating to see the customs union amendment defeated in the Commons.

I did not support the Lord’s EEA amendment 51. I understand the arguments for this approach however the drawbacks are significant. This includes little say over EU rules, and crucially Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein are outside the customs union. As it stands, the EEA cannot meet the commitment to no hard border in Northern Ireland.

However, I did vote for Labour’s amendment (a) to amendment 51 which stated that a negotiating objective should be “to ensure the United Kingdom has full access to the internal market of the European Union, underpinned by shared institutions and regulations, with no new impediments to trade and common rights, standards and protections as a minimum.”

I voted for a meaningful vote for Parliament. I believe the Government needs to be accountable. After the Bill went through Ping Pong, between the Commons and Lords, this amendment was defeated. The Tory rebels chose not to back their own amendment in the end. This was incredibly disappointing as it takes power from Parliament handing it directly to the Prime Minister.

This Bill could have provided the checks and balances we need for the difficult journey ahead. I am very disappointed that the Government defeated any chance for accountability and assurance. The Government continues to hold Parliament in contempt when it comes to the Brexit process. I will continue to hold the Government to account and speak up for the people of Sheffield Hallam.

Jared O'Mara MP
Sheffield Hallam

Jared O'Mara