Between now and February 8th, the House of Commons will be debating whether, and what terms, to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty – beginning the process of Britain leaving the EU.
The Conservative government is committed to a form of Brexit which would allow for deregulation, immigration controls, and the end of a lot of legislation protecting the environment and workers’ rights. As illustrated by their initial refusal to even allow parliament a vote on Article 50, they also want this process to happen with the minimum democratic scrutiny. So the Bill they have proposed gives them a blank cheque in the negotiations.
MPs from almost all opposition parties have put forward amendments to the Bill, aiming to bind the government to retain EU law that protects some of the progressive elements of EU membership and forces the government to consult parliament and the people.
These are not all of the progressive amendments – but they are a handful of our favourite ones.
Email your MP now and urge them to support these.
1. Staying in the Single Market
Amendments 5 and 9 (proposed by Chris Leslie, Labour) would make it the aim of the government to keep Britain in the European Economic Area (EEA) in the same way that Norway currently is. This would completely change the course of Brexit – it would mean retaining many of the rights we currently enjoy, and maintaining a much closer relationship with Europe.
The Single Market was in the Tory Party’s 2015 manifesto. Parliament should hold them to it!
2. A vote on the terms of exit
Amendment 37 (proposed by Caroline Lucas, Green) would bind the government to holding a ratification referendum on the deal reached with the EU, and to do this at least four months before the Article 50 notice period ends. This would give the British people a meaningful say over their own destinies.
3. Stop the UK from becoming a tax haven
Amendment NC7 (proposed by the Labour front bench) would bring into British law all currently existing EU law on tax avoidance and evasion. This would go some way to preventing a race to the bottom on tax after Brexit.
4. Workers’ rights
Two amendments in particular, NC9 and NC10 (proposed by Melanie Onn and the Labour front bench) would go some way to protecting the workers’ rights currently enshrined in EU law.
5. Environmental protections
Amendment 41 (proposed by Caroline Lucas, Green) would ensure that all environmental protections in EU law passed into British law, and that these protections could not be overturned without a proper vote in parliament.
6. Guaranteeing the rights of EU citizens living in the UK
Amendment NC6 (proposed by the Labour front bench) would grant permanent residency to all EU nationals living in the UK on the day that Article 50 was triggered. Amendment NC8 (also from Labour) would bind the government to ensuring that the rights of both British and EU nationals are protected by any final deal.
You can view all the amendments here.
31st January 2017