Over the last week there have been several procedural votes about Brexit and Parliamentary Process. They have caused a surprising amount of interest in what is usually quite a dull part of procedure. Given the level of interest I would like to explain in more detail what the votes were, why I voted for them and that neither of them in any way put Brexit at risk.
The first of these was an amendment to the Finance Bill which limited the power of the Government to change tax regulations without asking Parliament.
One of the lead sponsors of the amendment acknowledged that, “The amendment doesn’t affect the normal operations of the Treasury and government. But it does make it harder for the government to drift into no deal without parliament being able to direct it.”
This amendment demonstrated that there was a substantial number of MPs who are concerned about the prospect of drifting into a no deal Brexit. It does not however propose to ‘defund’ the Government in the event of no deal, nor does it prevent the Government holding an emergency budget after no deal and reinstating the small number of powers this amendment restricts.
The second amendment I supported was an amendment to a Business of the House motion. Business of the House motions are MP’s ways of determining how we go about our debates, they change the order or timing of our debates.
The amendment I supported asked for the Government to respond to the Brexit deal being rejected by giving a response within three days. If the Prime Minister’s deal – which I support – is rejected, there is a serious risk to market and business confidence. It is only right for the Government to respond quickly to protect our economy from the headwinds we would then face as the risk of no-deal would increase.
While I disagree with Jacob on many areas of Brexit, I again agree with him on this matter when he said, “The vote that the Government has just lost does not affect Brexit.” It lays out a process, it doesn’t affect the policy of leaving the EU.
I have always been clear that I will support a pragmatic Brexit which protects our prosperity. I will not support a no deal Brexit but will support the Prime Minister’s deal which represents the best, and perhaps only, chance of getting us out of the EU.