North Lincolnshire MP slams Labour's 'appalling' decision to vote against first major Brexit law

By Grimsby Telegraph | Posted: 11 Sep 2017

Labour’s decision to oppose the first major Brexit law going through Parliament is "appalling" and lacks “principle”, according to a Humber MP.

Andrew Percy, Conservative MP for Brigg – who will vote with the Government on the EU Withdrawal Bill – criticised Labour’s position , accusing leader Jeremy Corbyn and the party of pitting itself against the legislation in a bid to make a “political” point.

MPs will vote on the Second Reading of the Bill in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

The Government is predicted to win, with the 10 DUP MPs and pro-Brexit Labour MPs understood to be making Theresa May “confident” of success.

The Bill will cut-and-paste all current EU laws onto the UK’s statute books, but Labour says its extra “ Henry VIII powers ” – giving ministers the ability to change laws without MPs approval – could see workers’ rights and environmental protections chopped.

Melanie Onn, the Labour MP for Great Grimsby, has confirmed that she will vote against the Bill for that reason.

Melanie Onn, Labour MP for Great Grimsby

The town’s MP told the Telegraph that she would be looking to back amendments to ensure there were suitable limits on the so-called “Henry VIII powers”.

North Lincolnshire’s 4 Tory MPs were due to support the Government and Mr Percy, the former Northern Powerhouse Minister, slammed Labour’s position over the legislation.

“I’m satisfied with the Bill – it is a sensible position,” said Mr Percy. “The important thing is we have to make good on the will of the people. The country voted very clearly.

“Just because 15,000 Londoners marched against it does not mean Brexit shouldn’t happen.

“The appalling thing is Labour’s position,” the backbench Tory continued. “It is got nothing to do with principle. They think there is a political opportunity to defeat the Government – but there isn’t.”

Martin Vickers , MP for Cleethorpes, said there would be further time, as the Bill and Brexit progresses, for constituents’ concerns to be dealt with.

Cleethorpes MP Martin Vickers

“I have received a number of emails from people who have raised particular issues about things such as animal welfare, which I will be seeking to clarify,” he said.

“But they aren’t going to be clarified during a Second Reading debate, which is about the general principle of the Bill.”

Mr Vickers said he was “content” with the reassurances given by Brexit Secretary David Davis, who opened the Withdrawal Bill debate on Thursday, about the restraints the wording of the draft law places on the Henry VIII powers.

Sir Edward Leigh, the Tory MP representing Market Rasen, spoke in the Commons on Monday evening to lend his support to the Government.

The veteran politician and arch-Eurosceptic urged the Prime Minister to be “generous” and “accept” amendments during the Bill process if it they “actually improve parliamentary scrutiny”.

He said the Government must “keep repeating” its insistence that rights, especially those of EU citizens living in Britain, would not be undermined after Brexit.

Victoria Atkins, the Tory MP for Louth, also announced she would vote with the Government.

Victoria Atkins, Conservative MP for Louth and Horncastle

The qualified barrister said opponents had failed to come up with "a different way" of transitioning 40 years' worth of EU law over to the British legal system in the "very short time that we have".

"We have to work on the basis that the wholesale adoption of EU law must be the way to go," said Mrs Atkins.

READ MORE: Government funding for Hornsea Project Two hailed as 'breakthrough for offshore wind in UK'

"And then in the years to come, I foresee that this Parliament will play a very big part in deciding which laws we keep and which we don't."

Mrs Atkins said ministers looking to utilise the Henry VIII powers would have to be "very careful" as there would be "eagle-eyed" MPs "ensuring they are operating properly and to the spirit of the law".

The final result is expected at around midnight.

If the Bill passes, it will be due to be debated by MPs for 8 days during next month’s Committee Stage, where intricate amendments will be brought forward.



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