My committee work in Parliament:
Leaving the EU
The start of formal negotiations to leave the EU which began with the writing of the letter triggering Article 50, may not have been significant in itself (compared with the referendum last year and the substantive negotiations to come), but it felt momentous. Many of us have lived our whole lives, or our whole adult lives, as part of the EU. Many older people remember the catastrophes that befell Europe in the middle of the last century, and feel that, imperfect though the EU institutions are, the European project was and remains a noble one. 36,000 Westminster residents are EU citizens. Some of the near 70% of electors who voted to remain locally may feel we just have to get on with it now, but I know many others (and I am amongst them) feel a deep sense of sadness and concern about the future even though we will all try to ensure that we get the best possible outcome from this next stage of the process.
During the final stages of the Parliamentary Bill approving the decision to trigger Article 50, I backed two amendments. One tried again to protect the rights of EU citizens in this country, many of whom are deeply concerned about their current status. The case that they should not be used as ‘bargaining chips’ in negotiations has been made many times since last June (including by me), but if anything, it becomes more, rather than less pressing with the passage of time.
The second amendment was to give MPs a final and meaningful vote (and not just a ‘take it or leave it’ one) at the end of the negotiations, so a deal could still be rejected if we judged it not to be in the national interest. This was also defeated