European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill 2019-20

The House of Commons and the House of Lords have agreed on the text of the European Union Withdrawal Act 2019-20 (MDV) (withdrawal agreement) needed by the UK to transpose the withdrawal agreement into domestic law. The House of Lords has introduced five amendments to the MDM (which also limits: a) the ability of British courts to deviate from EU law after Brexit, and (b) the power of ministers to decide when decisions of the European Court of Justice will be used or overturned), but they were all overturned by the House of Commons when the WAB returned to the House of Commons. The House of Lords has therefore decided not to insist on the inclusion of these five amendments. The WAB is expected to obtain royal approval later today and then become law. Parliament must do its job and that is what we must be given the opportunity to do. We should not be rushed in those 17 hours after the law is introduced. I would also say – I was a union member and a civil servant before entering this assembly – you are not giving up what you have earned and won; You protect what you have and try to improve yourself in the future. The bill undermines workers` rights in this country and in our society, and those who impose it in its current form will find that many of our current rights are seriously violated. I thank the woman, my neighbour in the riding, for giving in on this important point. By sacrificing the idea of a customs union in the name of their English nationalist agenda, the Conservatives are breaking the structure of the United Kingdom. What a shameful act of a so-called unionist party.

The simple fact remains that, if we do not want to leave the European Union on the SNP benches, it is regrettable that over the last three years we have not had the opportunity to explore in detail a compromise position which may have remained in the internal market and in the customs union and which would have solved many of the difficulties we are facing today with Northern Ireland. I am also very concerned about the money in this series of proposals. We never talk about money and so many Members seem to think that it is normal to give billions to the European Union. The readmission of control of our money has been at the center of the campaign. In fact, it was very controversial because people were arguing about what exactly it was. I do not think it has been properly quantified. The debts are potentially large and prolonged, and there is no attempt in the agreement or the bill to control them. As a general rule, the British Parliament does not legislate on matters under the jurisdiction of the Scottish Parliament, Senedd Cymru or the Northern Ireland Assembly without the consent of the relevant body.