Parliament is back tomorrow following the Christmas recess, but I’m heading down to Westminster today to prepare for the week ahead as I’m leading for Labour’s Shadow Brexit team on the EU (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill.
The Bill is the way that the Government will put their Brexit deal into UK law. The Government introduced a previous version of it back in October, and their failure to win a vote on fast-tracking consideration of the Bill was their excuse for calling the general election.
Now that the Tories have a clear majority, they re-introduced the Bill before Christmas, but have taken out many important measures which would have protected Parliament’s role in the Brexit process going forward. Shockingly, among other changes, the Government is also using this Bill to duck out of a commitment they made to Lord Alf Dubs on unaccompanied children seeking asylum.
The Bill secured its Second Reading in the week before Christmas and will be debated at Committee Stage on Tuesday and Wednesday, for which we’ve tabled amendments on EU citizens’ rights, preventing ‘no deal’, Northern Ireland, refugee children, workers’ rights – together with customs union, alignment with the single market and membership of agencies and partnerships.
On Thursday, before we move to the Third Reading of the Bill, we’ve got the final session of Brexit Oral Questions before the Department for Exiting the European Union is abolished at the end of the month.
Before debating the Bill on Tuesday, I’ll be in the Commons Chamber for the expected statement from Boris Johnson on the crisis in the Middle East following the US killing of the Iranian Quds commander Qasem Soleimani in Baghdad.
This week I’ll also be chairing a meeting on the value of international students to English Language training and further education organised by the International Students APPG and attending a meeting of the Universities APPG of which I was Secretary in the last Parliament.
I’ll be back in Sheffield on Friday to meet with my team on casework and to catch up with the new South Yorkshire Police Neighbourhoods Inspector covering Manor and Wybourn – and then in the evening I’ll be heading to Bramall Lane for the game against West Ham.