Welwyn Hatfield MP Grant Shapps explains opposing Brexit bill amendment

Welwyn Hatfield MP Grant Shapps. Picture: Stuart Howat.

Welwyn Hatfield MP Grant Shapps. Picture: Stuart Howat. - Credit: Archant

Welwyn Hatfield’s MP has explained why he voted against a Brexit bill amendment that provided Parliament with a legal vote on the final deal.

Labour leader Cllr Kieran Thorpe

Labour leader Cllr Kieran Thorpe - Credit: Archant

MPs yesterday (Thursday) chose to guarantee Parliament a legal vote on whether to accept the final deal, and effectively limited ministers’ power to make sweeping changes to the law beforehand.

The government’s hand was forced thanks to 11 Tory MPs, including North East Herts representative Sir Oliver Heald, who defied the party line and voted in favour.

Grant Shapps, who opposed the amendment, said that either way a final vote wouldn’t change whether Britain leaves, rather it just creates the opportunity for Parliament to force it through without a deal.

“Exactly the thing that nearly everyone that voted to remain didn’t want to happen – for us to leave without a deal – is what it could lead to,” Mr Shapps said.

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“So I don’t really think it helps the objectives of those who didn’t want us to leave.”

Critics claimed that Parliament not having a “meaningful” vote was undemocratic, but Mr Shapps pointed to over 30 votes throughout the Brexit process as evidence of Parliamentary influence throughout.

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The amendment, tabled by former attorney-general Dominic Grieve, also effectively limited ministers’ powers to make vast legal changes before the bill was passed.

But Mr Shapps dismissed that fear, pointing to a similar lack of Parliamentary control over EU-determined law.

He said: “It doesn’t keep me awake at night because when you think about it, for the things that have come into British law through EU derivatives, Parliament has had no say at all.

“So even if guilty as charged and ministers were given ‘Henry VIII powers’, that surely is much better than the EU having ‘Napoleonic powers’.”

Local Labour leader, borough councillor Kieran Thorpe, said: “It’s entirely appropriate for Parliament to scrutinize ‘the deal’ should one ever materialize before we leave the European Union.

“What is concerning is that it has taken such action by MPs to ensure that happens.

“It is becoming a hallmark of this government that they feel unaccountable to anyone, which is surprising given how weak the Prime Minister’s position is.

“I am very glad that 309 MPs chose to take back control, it’s a shame Welwyn Hatfield’s MP wasn’t one of them.”

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