A Successful Year! End of Year Message

Our campaign for 2017 has ended in success – achieving a truly meaningful vote in Parliament on the final deal.

The success of Amendment 7 means that an Act of Parliament will now be required before we can leave the EU.

Thank you and well done to everyone who wrote to their MP. Together we’re showing that we can make a difference, and that Parliament can listen to the people it is supposed to represent.

The Government’s exit date amendment, you may remember, was another huge threat. Prompted by the call to action from Dominic Grieve and the Conservatives for Europe, we campaigned urgently to lobby all MPs to vote against it. The Government were ultimately persuaded to add appropriate flexibility to the amendment fixing the exit date into law – and Dominic Grieve and the other Conservative ‘rebels’ were satisfied that it was acceptable, so another win for democracy.

There will be many more votes and amendments ahead, put forward to ensure that we are not driven into a hard brexit against our will.

So thanks again for all your support in 2017. Look out for our next campaign in the new year!

For now – we are delighted to share this news of a YouGov poll carried out by Best For Britain, which shows that well over half of Labour voters are opposed to the Labour leadership backing Brexit.
http://bit.ly/2l6Syoi

This matters as it demonstrates there is little support for Labour backing the Government’s position; and so we should expect more opposition from Labour as the Brexit negotiations unfold.

And finally…

Charles is working on an initiative to get this Big Red Bus on tour around the country! Camden for Europe need to raise at least their target by 7th Jan for it to go ahead. So if you want to see the new, improved and truthful version of the Big Red Bus touring the country please help by making a small donation, and sharing the campaign with your friends & proEU groups!
www.crowdfunder.co.uk/50bn-and-counting

Thanks for all your support and Happy New Year!

Richard, Charles & Sue 

The EU Withdrawal Bill: A Paradox Too Far?

[Guest article by Jim Blythe]

Implementing the referendum result has certainly produced a fine collection of paradoxes – the Irish border, the Gibraltar question, the “Divorce Bill” and so forth. One of Theresa May’s finest, though, is the EU Withdrawal Bill.

The problem is that leaving the EU’s regulatory system means that much of the law we have come to know and trust will no longer apply. Estimates vary, but one MP has said that it amounts to 83,000 pages of law which will have to be rewritten – and if all that has to be debated in Parliament, nothing else will get done for the next decade or so. The alternative is to expand the Civil Service and get them to rewrite everything, which of course takes democratic accountability out of the picture – taking back control rings a bit hollow if that happens. Professor Michael Dougan told the Treasury Select Committee as much, even before the referendum was held.

But we are where we are. So either Parliament will be caught in a blockage even DynoRod couldn’t clear, or something else will have to happen – hence the EU Withdrawal Bill. This Bill aims to give powers to rewrite law directly to the various Ministries – and Parliament are not happy about being cut out of the picture.

Their response has been to add a lot of amendments onto the Bill – it has been nicknamed “the Christmas tree” by wags in the Strangers’ Bar, because everyone is hanging something on it. Of the 480-plus amendments now dangling from its boughs, two in particular might offer a Get Out Of Jail Free card to Theresa May’s government.

The first, from Chris Leslie, would give Parliament a vote on the final deal, with an option to ask for Article 50 back and remain in the EU. This would come into force should a fixed exit day be set. The second, by Conservative MP and former attorney-general Dominic Grieve, has the same effect – Parliament would be able to vote down any deal worse than membership (which is to say, any deal) and reverse Article 50.  These amendments, NC4 and NC7, will be debated soon and will be voted on.

MPs are, of course, difficult to predict. The situation is complex. The Government is relatively powerless, since they lack an overall majority and can easily lose the support of the loonies from the DUP. The frog might jump either way.

Having said that, either of the two amendments would return Parliamentary sovereignty, and MPs do like to have power. They would also allow Theresa May to say, “Well, we gave it our best shot, but those naughty MPs voted it down and guess what? We have no choice but withdraw Article 50, at least until after the next General Election.” Which they would hope to win in a landslide.

It is obvious that leaving the EU carries too many paradoxes, not to mention the golden idol of the economy, which is front and centre of the debate. These amendments allow the Tories to escape with a single bound – and it’s up to Remain supporters to provide the ammunition allowing them to vote for the amendments.

Looks like a great time to be lobbying MPs.

Update on Amendments

Amazing news!
 
The amendment we have been campaigning for (Amendment 7) has gained support from Conservative, Labour, Lib Dem, SNP and Green parties – this means there is a good chance it will be called for debate.
 
We still need as many MPs as possible to sign it, and build support for the other amendment we are backing (New Clause 4) to show the Government that they do not have a mandate to do as they wish.
 
The committee stage was supposed to have started by now but the Government has delayed the vote to give the whips time to work on those who are standing up for our Parliamentary Democracy.
 
So it is as important now as ever before to contact your MP and tell them you are grateful (if they have signed – see below) or that they should be supporting this if they haven’t. 
 
The government is worried that they are losing support on these key issues – and they should be! We need a concerted effort to show that we want our Parliament to have the final say.
 
With the prospects of a no-deal Hard Brexit rising by the day, it’s even more important that the Government stays accountable, and Parliament has to APPROVE any exit deal – including leaving without a deal. So please keep up the good work and together we can restore Parliamentary Democracy.
 
The amendments we are supporting are even making the national news!

Let’s now raise the profile higher so the government cannot ignore the issue.

 

(For up to date signatories, please refer to the most recent Amendment paper on the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill Documents page.)

Signatories at time of writing:
Amendment 7

Kinnock, Stephen (Labour) – Aberavon
Grieve, Mr Dominic (Conservative) – Beaconsfield
McCabe, Steve (Labour) – Birmingham, Selly Oak
Cadbury, Ruth (Labour) – Brentford and Isleworth
Lucas, Caroline (Green Party) – Brighton, Pavilion
McCarthy, Kerry (Labour) – Bristol East
Neill, Robert (Conservative) – Bromley and Chislehurst
Soubry, Anna (Conservative) – Broxtowe
Stone, Jamie (Liberal Democrat) – Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross
Doughty, Stephen (Labour (Co-op)) – Cardiff South and Penarth
Jones, Susan Elan (Labour) – Clwyd South
Hayes, Helen (Labour) – Dulwich and West Norwood
Sandbach, Antoinette (Conservative) – Eddisbury
Murray, Ian (Labour) – Edinburgh South
Bradshaw, Mr Ben (Labour) – Exeter
Malhotra, Seema (Labour (Co-op)) – Feltham and Heston
Gapes, Mike (Labour (Co-op)) – Ilford South
Kendall, Liz (Labour) – Leicester West
Morgan, Nicky (Conservative) – Loughborough
Farrelly, Paul (Labour) – Newcastle-under-Lyme
McKinnell, Catherine (Labour) – Newcastle upon Tyne North
Gethins, Stephen (Scottish National Party) – North East Fife
Smith, Angela (Labour) – Penistone and Stocksbridge
Bryant, Chris (Labour) – Rhondda
Clarke, Mr Kenneth (Conservative) – Rushcliffe
Allen, Heidi (Conservative) – South Cambridgeshire
Lefroy, Jeremy (Conservative) – Stafford
Coffey, Ann (Labour) – Stockport
Umunna, Chuka (Labour) – Streatham
Wollaston, Dr Sarah (Conservative) – Totnes
Hammond, Stephen (Conservative) – Wimbledon
Lady Hermon (Independent) – North Down
Mary Creagh (Labour) – Wakefield
Lammy, Mr David (Labour) – Tottenham
Mr George Howarth (Labour) – Knowsley
Sir Vince Cable (Lib Dem) – Twickenham
Jo Swinson (Lib Dem) – East Dunbartonshire
Tom Brake (Lib Dem) – Carshalton and Wallington
Sir Edward Davey (Lib Dem) – Kingston and Surbiton
Layla Moran (Lib Dem) – Oxford West and Abingdon

New Clause 4

Coyle, Neil (Labour) – Bermondsey and Old Southwark
Cadbury, Ruth (Labour) – Brentford and Isleworth
Lucas, Caroline (Green Party) – Brighton, Pavilion
Doughty, Stephen (Labour (Co-op)) – Cardiff South and Penarth
Hayes, Helen (Labour) – Dulwich and West Norwood
Murray, Ian (Labour) – Edinburgh South
Bradshaw, Mr Ben (Labour) – Exeter
Kyle, Peter (Labour) – Hove
Gapes, Mike (Labour (Co-op)) – Ilford South
Kendall, Liz (Labour) – Leicester West
Farrelly, Paul (Labour) – Newcastle-under-Lyme
McKinnell, Catherine (Labour) – Newcastle upon Tyne North
Leslie, Mr Chris (Labour (Co-op)) – Nottingham East
Bryant, Chris (Labour) – Rhondda
Coffey, Ann (Labour) – Stockport
Umunna, Chuka (Labour) – Streatham
Lammy, Mr David (Labour) – Tottenham
Sir Vince Cable (Lib Dem) – Twickenham
Jo Swinson (Lib Dem) – East Dunbartonshire
Tom Brake (Lib Dem) – Carshalton and Wallington
Sir Edward Davey (Lib Dem) – Kingston and Surbiton
Layla Moran (Lib Dem) – Oxford West and Abingdon

The End of the Beginning

It was a sad day that many never wanted to see; but the messages from across Europe have been the most positive thing to come from Wednesday’s events. “We already miss you,” said Donald Tusk as he acknowledged that the EU does not want the UK to go and that he knows that nor does half of the UK. He – and plenty others across Europe – made it very clear that the door is open and that we are welcome to change our mind whenever.

Our Prime Minister, of course, seeks to dismiss that out of hand; but perhaps she protests too much. After all, If the Leavers were right and there is a glorious future of milk and honey for all, why would anyone want to? Why would we not unite behind our leader in a brave new chapter? (I think we all know the answer to that!)

So what happens now? More importantly, what should we all be doing?

We do what we were set up to do – make our politicians represent us.

People have been promised much, told that everything is going to be great, so great. Perhaps it will be; but if it isn’t, and if our politicians are taking us down a path that hurts more and more people every day, then they need to be told that. If people change their minds, they need to know that too. And if promises and pledges become dust, then they need to be told that we won’t forget.

Ultimately, politicians will listen; but we have to speak up and be heard. And it can’t be in general terms or in statistics as they are too easily brushed away (“we’ve had enough of experts” after all). So we quote the things that can’t be dismissed: a local factory closes down and moves to Europe; crops can’t be gathered because there’s no workers; hospital cancels operations because staff have gone back to Europe; local projects shelved because EU money pulled: academic collaboration abandoned because we’re no longer part of European schemes: and so on.

Find them all; and then tell your MP (and us).

We need now what only you can provide. Find out what the EU has done for your area and how leaving will hurt. Find out and report it to us; but bring it to local press attention as well if you can. The more everyone can see what Brexit really means, day to day, then the more likely they are to change their mind.

We’re facing an 18 month clash of fantasy meeting reality. Our job – all of us – is make sure MPs represent the ever increasing number of us who are suffering as a result of this. This is the campaign we all need to be a part of; and we hope you’ll join us.

We will be in touch again very soon with more detailed plans, taking into account the very useful feedback we have had from some of you (for which many thanks).

Richard, Charles & Sue