On 8 February, at the Third Reading of the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill, I voted against triggering Article 50 and beginning the formal process of withdrawing from the EU. The Bill was passed by 494 to 122.
I voted in favour of the following amendments and clauses, all of which were defeated by the government:
- Amendment 29 – That the Prime Minister may only notify the UK’s intention to withdraw from the EU following consultation with the Government of Gibraltar.
- Amendment 11 – That the Government publish a report on the effect of EU withdrawal on the national finances, including the impact on health spending.
- Amendment 86 – Require the power for the Prime minister to notify withdrawal from the EU to be exercised with regard to the constitutional, institutional and rights provisions of the Belfast agreement
- Clause 57 – Protecting the residence rights of those EU citizens who were lawfully resident in the UK on the date of the EU referendum.
- Clause 192 – That nothing in this Act will affect the UK’s membership of the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom).
- New Clause 7 – That the government must have regard to the public interest all existing EU tax avoidance and evasion legislation.
I am extremely concerned about the consequence of a Brexit outlined by the government that involves leaving the single market and the customs union and ending the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice. This will have a severe impact on jobs, investment funds and research partnerships affecting the medical and university sectors in Liverpool.
I felt I could not support the government to begin this damaging process of withdrawing from the European Union; particularly as 73% of people in Liverpool Riverside voted to Remain. I voted against the government proposal and the Labour whip.