EU Withdrawal Bill - what your MPs said on your behalf

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Tuesday saw the long-awaited return of the EU Withdrawal Bill to the House of Commons. MPs convened to consider a basket of amendments to the bill passed by the House of Lords that the government didn’t want.

Theresa May and her ministers wanted to scrap all the Lords' attempts to make the government more accountable for how it implements Brexit. Allowing Parliament to vote on the Brexit deal with the EU, and to direct the government in the event of 'no deal' was the key amendment.

Thousands of Unlock Democracy supporters contacted their MPs asking them to stand up for our democracy in the following ways:

  • Stop ministers scrapping employment and equality rights, health and safety protections, or consumer and environmental standards without MPs agreeing.

  • Give MPs stronger powers to scrutinise ministers decisions using the new powers in the bill.

  • Keep The EU charter of fundamental rights

  • Prevent ministers unilaterally taking away powers from Scotland & Wales.

  • Allows MPs a meaningful vote on the final deal.


Many MPs spoke up for democracy

Here's a taster:

“ A fake choice between a potentially bad deal and a cliff-edge no deal—a vote between bad and worse—is not a meaningful choice. It would breach such fundamental principles of human rights and parliamentary sovereignty that we would not recognise it as being valid in other countries, and it is not one that our Parliament should accept. In all conscience, I cannot bring myself to vote for it in this bastion of liberty, freedom and human rights.”

— Phillip Lee

“What the House is doing is legitimately looking at the detail of one of the most complex legal and political exercises in which we have ever engaged in peacetime.”

— Dominic Gireve

“Is it not the case that some of the staunchest Brexiteers, including the Secretary of State himself, have always defended parliamentary sovereignty, but when it comes to a meaningful vote on the deal, they seem to ignore it?”

— Emma Reynolds

“What the Lords amendment seeks to do is to reassert parliamentary sovereignty”

— Chuka Umunna

“Are Members really content for the sum of their role to be the chance to listen to a ministerial statement and attempt to catch the Speaker’s eye to ask a question?””

— Matthew Pennycook

“Parliament voting is hardly radical. Outrageous that govt is trying to block [this]”

— Yvette Cooper

“We have already given up all kinds of things that I have always taken for granted. I have never known such a weak Parliament for allowing things to get through, ending with the latest timetable resolution, but to take the Government’s amendment would be the ultimate in doing so.”

— Ken Clarke

Many MPs heard our voices and stood up for us.

But the system is stacked against us at every stage.  A minority government managed to force the votes through at break-neck speed. Devolution only had 15 minutes of MPs time, and the Northern Ireland was ignored entirely.

It now looks like Theresa May and a handful of ministers will have almost unprecedented powers to ram through their own vision for Brexit, scrap our rights and any EU laws they like without MPs or the public agreeing.

From start to finish, the government has treated our democracy with contempt in its approach to Brexit. It's now clear that we need fundamental, systemic changes to our democracy.

We think part of that is a new constitution for the UK written by and for the people. Will you join us and help build our movement?

From start to finish, the government has treated our democracy with contempt in its approach to Brexit. It's now clear that we need fundamental, systemic changes to our democracy.

We think part of that is a new constitution for the UK written by and for the people. Will you join us and help build our movement?