“I accept and respect the result of last year’s referendum. Britain will leave the European Union and that includes the Single Market. I believe that Government must work to secure the best Brexit deal for Britain, including for Batley & Spen.
“Next week we expect there to be a vote in Parliament on the Second Reading of the Government’s European Union (Withdrawal) Bill, also known as the “Repeal Bill” which will repeal the European Communities Act 1972 and convert EU law into UK law. A number of my constituents have emailed to ask me about my views on the Bill, and I have therefore decided to publish this statement.
“It is my view that the Government’s Bill as it stands at the moment is not fit for purpose. Some claim that not voting for the Bill is in some way disrespecting the view of the British people. That’s incorrect. To be clear, the decision regarding whether or not we leave the EU was settled when Article 50 was triggered. I voted in favour of triggering Article 50 and therefore beginning a process which ends with the UK outside of the EU. The vote next week is about the manner by which we leave.
“My concerns about the Bill include the fact that the Bill would allow for a power grab by Government. The unaccountable powers that it would give Government Ministers includes the power to decide the key terms of our exit from the EU, thus reducing the ability of Parliament to hold Government to account on how we exit the European Union.
“I am also concerned about protections for workers’ rights, equalities, consumer rights and environmental protections; and I believe that UK rights should keep pace with EU rights after Brexit. The Bill as it stands does not provide for this.
“Moreover, the Bill would undermine and introduce restrictions on the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, rather than leading to the wider devolution of power that we must see across the UK including in Yorkshire.
“Finally, the Bill could also prevent Britain from being able to negotiate a strong transitional deal on the same basic terms we currently enjoy, which is vital if we are to prevent Britain from facing the economic cliff edge if we were to leave without a time limited transitional arrangement.
“Without significant changes in the areas that I have outlined I will be unable to vote for the Bill at its Second Reading. I sincerely hope that the Government will act in the national interest, listen carefully to these points, and improve its Bill.
“At the 2017 General Election, I pledged to fight for the best Brexit deal for Batley & Spen. I completely respect the wishes of my constituents who voted for me as their local Labour MP and I fundamentally do not believe I was elected in order to use my vote to give unprecedented and undue power to a Conservative government propped up by the DUP.
“That’s why, with the best interests of my constituency in mind, I’ll seek to repair the Repeal Bill in Parliament.”