North East Lincolnshire MPs give their verdict as Brexit bill passes through Parliament

By Grimsby Telegraph | Posted: 15 Mar 2017

Eurosceptic MPs - including those from North Lincolnshire - were in a jubilant mood last night as Parliament passed the law required to trigger Article 50.

Members of both Houses of Parliament were told to expect a long night of toing and froing over the amendments to the EU (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill.

But after the Commons batted both amendments away with a clear majority, Conservative whips sent out the signal to MPs shortly after 7pm that they were free to go home - the Lords had indicated they had backed down.

The sound of parties and wine bottles opening could be heard across the Palaces of Westminster on Monday night as leave campaigners heralded the beginning of the end, with Theresa May now given permission to trigger Article 50 - the process by which the UK starts the EU divorce process - before the end of March.

MPs had voted by a majority of 48 not to accept the Lords' amendment that EU nationals living in Britain should be guaranteed their right to stay before the Brexit negotiations begin.

The House of Commons then voted down an amendment, by 45 votes, to give Parliament a "meaningful" vote on the final trade deal with the EU. The Government says Westminster will have a vote but that it does not need to be secured in statute.

The outcome sent the matters back to the House of Lords who backed down on both counts, and passed the legislation through. The bill is expected to be given Royal Assent by the Queen today.

The Lords voted with the Government by 274 votes to 118 not to challenge the Commons again over the issue of whether Parliament should have a veto on the terms of exit, while they opted, by 274 votes to 135, not to go again on seeking guarantees for EU citizens.

Cleethorpes MP Martin Vickers, who has campaigned to leave the European Union for his entire political career, said it was right that the bill had been left untouched.

Mr Vickers said: "The important thing is, these amendments were stopped with a significant majority - 45 votes is nearly three times the Government's overall majority.

"It was a very clear indication that the elected house was not going to fall into line with any of the amendments and nor should it. It was a simple bill designed to allow the Prime Minister to trigger Article 50."

The Tory backbencher said the fight to allow EU citizens to remain in the UK would start now, with the onus on neighbouring European states to follow suit.

"All the points made about the EU citizens will be part of the negotiations," Mr Vickers continued.

"The sooner they start, the sooner we can bring some certainty for people concerned about their status in the future.

"Our Government has made it clear that there is to be no change in their status as long as its reciprocal from other European governments.

"The bullets should be fired not at our Government but others, such as Germany, who are refusing to agree to that."

Great Grimsby MP Melanie Onn was not of the same opinion, however, and said it was "disappointing" that the Government had not agreed to the "simple" concessions.

She said her aims during the negotiation process would be to continue to ensure workers enjoy the same results after Brexit as they do currently.

Ms Onn said: "I'm really disappointed that the Government chose not to accept two simple amendments, which would have guaranteed the rights of EU citizens, who have made their lives in the UK, and given our Parliament a greater say in the outcome of an agreement which will define the future of the UK for generations.

"I voted to trigger Article 50. Although I campaigned for remain, Britain voted to leave the European Union and it would have wrong for MPs to have stopped that from happening.

"As we turn our attention towards the months ahead I will campaign to ensure that the Government brings forward new legislation to safeguard EU workers' rights into UK law and will scrutinise any proposal that will weaken or undermine these fundamental rights.

"People did not vote for more insecure contracts, less safe workplaces or anything less than they currently have by way of protection in their jobs."

Ms Onn also gave her reaction to the Chancellor's Budget last night in which she criticised the disproportionate impact Tory cuts had on women in society.

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