Tag Archives: Parliament

Lib Dems to vote against Article 50 “stitch up”

Unsurprisingly, the Liberal Democrats have confirmed that the party’s MPs will vote against any motion which backs the unconditional invocation of Article 50. Tonight’s vote will be a test for the SNP, too. Will they back the Liberal Democrat amendment calling for:

 the Prime Minister commit to a referendum on the final deal following the negotiations and prior to the UK departing the EU.

Tim Farron said:

We cannot support a parliamentary stitch up that would deny the people a vote on the final deal.

An amended motion would fail to include any meaningful commitment from the Conservative Brexit government to produce the equivalent of a White or Green Paper setting out its position on such fundamental questions as to whether it wants Britain to remain in the Single Market.

I call on the Labour Party to remember it calls itself the Official Opposition. It should not cave in to Conservative attempts to deny the public a final say on the most important question facing the country in a generation. It is appalling that a so-called opposition could allow itself to be muzzled by the Government on an issue that will face this country for years to come.

It is now clear that the Liberal Democrats are the real opposition to the Conservative Brexit government, striving to keep Britain open, tolerant and united.

At the moment, the SNP seems to be revelling in the constitutional mayhem. Willie Rennie called on them to back a referendum on the deal:

Posted in News and Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 64 Comments

Why would Alex Salmond nominate a key Brexiteer for Commons Brexit Committee chair?

This afternoon, we’ll find out who will be leading the Parliamentary scrutiny of Brexit as MPs vote for the chairs of the new select committee on Brexit.

It’s a race between Labour’s Hilary Benn, who campaigned for Remain, and Brexiteer Kate Hoey who does not think that membership of the single market is an achievable outcome.

From the Herald:

Labour’s Hilary Benn, the former shadow foreign secretary, is tipped to become chairman of the committee, which will have 21 members, including 10 Tories and MPs from six opposition parties; the average committee normally has 11 members.

But Ms Hoey, who represents Vauxhall in London, has also thrown her hat in the ring and, among those nominating her, is the former SNP leader. The onetime sports minister has said she wants Britain to have the fullest possible access to the single market but argues that taking back full control of immigration is incompatible with membership.

It is quite bizarre that Alex Salmond has chosen to nominate Kate Hoey given that the SNP has (rightly) been very vocal about the importance of continuing membership of the single market for the whole UK and for Scotland in particular. Why on earth would be support someone who doesn’t support that outcome?

Lib Dem Peer Jeremy Purvis had this to say on the matter:

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Towards a new, radical and distinctive LibDem platform

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I would like to contribute to the ‘radical and distinctive’ LibDem platform of the Radical Association.  We should be proud of our devolution process, freely achieved without unrest and violence.  But it has created inconsistencies underlined by the Scottish and EU referendums:

  • We are a Union of four countries, each theoretically equal within the Union…
  • Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have a Parliament and First Minster
  • England does not have a Parliament of its own, or a First Minister
  • England does ‘host’ the ‘national Parliament’ to which the others also send

Posted in Op-eds | 55 Comments

What’s on in our Parliaments this week? 12-16 September 2016

Scottish Parliament 3What are our MPs, MSPs, MEPs and AM’s going to be talking about this coming week?

Holyrood

On Tuesday, MSPs hear a statement on how the SNP government intends to resolve the mess they’ve made on agricultural payments.

There is also a debate on housing. Given that the government moved the goalposts on house building and the number of houses built for social rent has fallen well below both need and target, there is a great deal of jelly to be nailed to the wall.

On Wednesday there is a debate on Brexit and the UK’s negotiating position.

Domestic abuse law comes under scrutiny on Thursday

The Senedd

The Welsh Assembly is back this week.

On Tuesday they will debate substance misuse, implications of Brexit and First Minister Carwyn Jones will face his first question session.

Wednesday is an opposition day, with Plaid, UKIP and the Tories each having an hour for debate on a subject of their choice.

Westminster

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What’s on in our Parliaments this week? 5-9 September 2016

Scottish Parliament 3So, it’s term-time again. After a frenetic and dramatic end to the last parliamentary session, everyone has done their best to make sure it looks like nothing is happening over the past 6 weeks.

That’s all over now, though. The Westminster and Scottish parliaments are back in session this week.  Wales has another week off.

It’s time to get to grips with the major issues around Brexit. That’s going to be the only game in town for quite some time.

Holyrood

There are three major items of business this week. The first is a two day debate on the SNP Government’s plans for the year ahead.

They will include a Social Security Bill to take account of the new powers coming to Holyrood. The government has also stated that its key priorities are educational attainment (which it intends to tackle by national testing rather than more resources) and the economy. They will also be introducing measures on warm homes and climate change.

Nicola Sturgeon will be making a statement on Scotland’s place in Europe. Last week, Willie Rennie said that she was talking too much about independence. Will she offer any other approach?

Finally, there will be an update on the controversial named person scheme which was ruled illegal earlier this Summer. How will the government tackle the requirements of the court judgement?

Westminster

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Tom Brake fights for the rights of EU citizens in the UK

The 3 million EU citizens currently resident in the UK must not be bartered over in this country’s exit negotiations with the EU. They must not be treated as political pawns, or like children caught up in their parents’ divorce. So said Liberal Democrat MP Tom Brake as he introduced his “EU Citizens in the UK (Right to stay) Bill to the Commons this week. The Bill has support from MPs from Labour, SDLP, SNP and Greens.

I’m glad to see Lib Dems calling the Brexit vote for what it is – a disaster. Someone needs to point out that we are on the edge of a massive precipice and the tanking of the pound is just the start. Already business is starting to feel the pinch as investors delay investing in the UK. The collapse of the travel firm Lowcostravel is just one example of jobs being lost as a result of the Brexit vote. People haven’t yet even begun to experience the effects of Brexit and when they do, they need to see who was speaking out from the start.

I’m very proud that it is our lot who are working to preserve the rights of people who are already worrying about their future. It is only fair that those who have made their lives here are allowed to stay and not have the goalposts moved. Imagine if you have moved here, fallen in love, established a social network, a family, a career, in this country. Would you like to be treated that way?

Here is Tom’s speech in full:

Posted in Europe / International, Op-eds and Parliament | Also tagged and | 4 Comments

Should Parliament put a stop to Brexit?

Most suggestions for resolving the “What the (insert expletive of choice) do we do now?” conundrum tend to involve various degrees of access to the Single Market or a General Election. Few are brave enough to suggest that Parliament simply declines to invoke Article 50. Until now.

Professor A C Grayling, Master of the New College of Humanities in London, has written to all MPs telling them that they have a responsibility not to support any such motion. He lists several reasons, not least the paucity of the campaign, the likelihood of the break up of the UK if we leave the EU and the fact that the threshold for such a huge change was set way too low. He has a point. You can’t change the number of places on a toddler group committee without a 2/3 majority. When the party conference considers a vast swathe of constitutional amendments in September, they will need a 2/3 majority to pass. With hindsight, you have to wonder why on earth we let such a major change through on a simple majority.

Harvard’s Professor Kenneth Rogoff agrees that the threshold is too low:

In terms of durability and conviction of preferences, most societies place greater hurdles in the way of a couple seeking a divorce than Prime Minister David Cameron’s government did on the decision to leave the EU. Brexiteers did not invent this game; there is ample precedent, including Scotland in 2014 and Quebec in 1995. But, until now, the gun’s cylinder never stopped on the bullet. Now that it has, it is time to rethink the rules of the game.

Grayling isn’t a fan of referenda anyway:

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , and | 82 Comments
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