Tom Brake Lib Dem MP for Carshalton and Wallington
With rumours circulating in Whitehall that the EU Withdrawal Bill has now been pushed beyond the mini-recess, Tom Brake MP, Liberal Democrat Brexit spokesman has written to David Davis, offering him an olive branch.
Mr Brake will be willing to work with the Secretary of State to smooth the Bill’s passage through Parliament, in return for David Davis’s support for a number of critical Liberal Democrat amendments.
- Maintaining EU citizens’ rights
- Ensuring the Good Friday Agreement is not undone
- A referendum on the final deal
“It is clear the Government no longer have a majority on this Bill. To ease the Government’s pain and to provide some direction to their Marie Celeste of a Bill, I will be willing to work constructively with David Davis to improve the Bill.
“This would be in return for the Secretary of State supporting some critical Lib Dem amendments, including providing for a vote on the final deal and enhanced scrutiny of the Bill.
The full text of the letter reads:
I am writing to you regarding the Amendments to the EU Withdrawal Bill which have been tabled by the Liberal Democrats.
As I am sure you are aware, the Liberal Democrats are greatly concerned that the EU Withdrawal Bill in its current form grants ministers control over legislation with little scrutiny and signals an extreme Brexit on the horizon for the UK, bringing with it economic chaos and confusion for businesses, EU citizens in the UK and UK citizens in the EU.
The Liberal Democrats however want to hold out an olive branch to the Government and your department and offer to work constructively with you on the Bill to smooth its passage through Parliament.
The Amendments cover a number of the most pressing issues which have arisen as a result of the Government’s policy towards Brexit and this Bill. I have set these issues and the Amendments out below.
Amendment 120 – Referendum on the deal
This Amendment would ensure that the people, not the Government will have the final say on the future of the UK’s relationship with the EU. A referendum on the terms of the deal would give people the opportunity to support the Government’s deal or state that the UK should remain a member of the EU.
Amendments 123, 124 – Customs Union and Single Market membership
These Amendments would ensure that the economy will not face a cliff-edge decline and businesses will be able to continue to freely trade and operate within the EU as they successfully and easily do now. In order to protect our economy, membership of the Customs Union and Single Market is paramount.
Amendment 131 – Maintaining EU citizens’ rights
This Amendment would end the uncertainty on their future which EU citizens are facing as a result of the UK leaving the EU. The Liberal Democrats want to preserve the rights, including residence rights, of all EU citizens lawfully residing in the UK.
Amendments 144, 145, 146, 147 – Good Friday Agreement
The Liberal Democrats recognise that leaving the EU has the potential to undo years of peace and stability between Ireland and Northern Ireland. These Amendments therefore seek to ensure that the EU Withdrawal Bill does not affect any legislation and instead maintains all of the Good Friday Agreement.
Amendments 132, 133, 134, 135, 136 – Devolved authorities
These Amendments protect the rights of devolved authorities and would prevent the Government from overruling these administrations legislating on aspects of EU law.
Amendments 126, 127 – Francovich rights
These Amendments will ensure that the Government must compensate individuals for damage that they have suffered suffer as a result of serious breaches of EU law.
Amendments 121, 128, 129, 130 – Maintaining Parliamentary scrutiny and sovereignty
The EU Withdrawal Bill must not make possible a Ministerial power grab and it must allow people the final say on the terms of the deal.
I trust that you and the Government will work with the Liberal Democrats to secure the best future for the UK as Parliament debates the EU Withdrawal Bill and the relevant legislation which will follow.
I would be happy to meet with you to discuss these Amendments further.
I will contact your office to see whether you would like to follow up my offer.
Lib Dem MP for Carshalton and Wallington