Sharon Hodgson MP: I'm behind Brexit - but the Repeal Bill is an affront to our democracy
As Parliament returns from summer recess, Brexit has dominated not only the headlines but the Parliamentary agenda too as we began the passage of the Great Repeal Bill (now known as the EU Withdrawal Bill).
This Bill has received a lot of interest, especially from those concerned that it was to block Brexit.
The simple answer is no, it was not.
We are leaving the EU come March 2019, as was decided during the referendum and endorsed by the Parliamentary vote in March to trigger Article 50 – which I voted for.
However, the Bill put before Parliament was a power grab by Tory ministers to cut Parliament out of the process and give ministers unfettered power to change laws as we convert EU legislation into British law without any scrutiny by Parliament, laws such as workers’ rights to animal welfare and environmental protections.
Since the General Election in June, the Tories have been acting as if they won a huge majority.
That is far from the reality of it with Theresa May relying on the help of the DUP to stay in Number 10.
Parliament is the centre of our democracy and should not be side-lined.
I take my role in Parliament very seriously, including when it comes to Brexit and ensuring the best deal possible for our area.
To remove all accountability and scrutiny of the Government by Parliament is something that I could not support.
This is why I could not vote for the Bill in its current form this week and will work with colleagues across the House to improve the Bill as it continues its passage through Parliament.
As I have said before: Brexit is one of the biggest political, economic and diplomatic issues this country will face – this has not changed.
It is crucial that Parliament is consulted by the Government, instead of railroaded as ministers grab powers to rewrite legislation without scrutiny.
No Government, especially a minority government, should hold such powers.
It is important that our democracy is not watered down and just as I consulted with constituents and promised to continue listening to their views during this process, so should the Government with Parliament.
Parliament is elected by the people to hold the Government to account and pass and amend legislation.
This Bill, in its current form, is an affront to democracy.