The terms of leaving the European Union must be subject to full and proper parliamentary scrutiny – and the referendum decision cannot for one second be considered a mandate to negotiate Brexit on any terms that the Prime Minister sees fit, says Dulwich and West Norwood MP Helen Hayes.

Her comments came during a Parliamentary debate on leaving the EU.

Helen Hayes told the House of Commons: “The lack of regard for Parliament in the Brexit process until now has been completely unacceptable and unjustifiable. “Some 48 per cent of people across the UK—almost half—voted to remain in the EU.

“In my constituency, more than three quarters of residents who voted wanted to remain, and many who voted leave did so on the basis of promises that have proved at best hollow and at worst simply untrue.

“While I respect the narrow result of the EU referendum, it cannot for one second be considered a mandate to negotiate Brexit on any terms that the Prime Minister sees fit.

“The terms must be subject to full and proper parliamentary scrutiny, and the British people must, as a minimum, have the opportunity to voice, through their elected representatives, whether or not they consider the emerging terms of negotiation acceptable.

“In my constituency, there is huge alarm and, it is no exaggeration to say, distress about Brexit.

“Young people whose lives could be fundamentally different as a consequence of Brexit, who did not have the opportunity to vote, and who, if they had been able to vote, as they should have been, may well have changed the decision feel particularly aggrieved.

“I met a group of students in my constituency last week whose anger and sense of disfranchisement was palpable.

“EU nationals living in my constituency, many of whom work in our public services, feel bereft.

“I have spoken to many who say that although they have been in the UK for many years, this is the first time that they have ever felt unwelcome and unwanted in the community that they consider to be home.

“The business community in my constituency—3,500 small and medium-sized enterprises—tells me that it feels that the Government simply do not understand the potential impact of Brexit on small businesses.

“Small developers in my constituency, whom we desperately need to deliver more homes, are putting schemes on hold because of the uncertainty.

“My local NHS trust is under severe financial pressure. “Many of those in the workforce on which it is dependent come from overseas. They work hard to serve our community and feel frankly insulted by some of the rhetoric that the Government have put out about foreign workers.

“My NHS workers would like to know whether and when our local trust will get a share of the £350 million a week that was promised, and when the Government will be clear that those workers are valued, irrespective of where they come from, for the contribution that they make to treating and caring for sick patients.

“I am pleased that the Government appear to have recognised the need for parliamentary scrutiny in the Brexit negotiations. “They must be clear that that will include a vote.

“We, too, must be clear. “What will be the approach to the single market? “How will the Government manage the risk to sterling? “What will replace the European arrest warrant? “What will be the impact of limitations on freedom of movement on the NHS and other critical services?

“What will be the status of British citizens living in the EU? “How will workers’ rights be protected? “What will be the impact on our universities and students, and on scientific and medical research, and how will the Government mitigate those impacts?

“What will be done to ensure that the loss of subsidy and investment is mitigated across the country?

“Those issues, and many more, were not the subject of the EU referendum question, but the consequences of the decisions made on them will be profound and will echo across generations to come. “They are of the utmost importance to my constituents, and it is the responsibility of all of us in this House to play a full role in holding the Government to account.”

(Resolved: That this House recognises that leaving the EU is the defining issue facing the UK;
believes that there should be a full and transparent debate on the Government’s plan for leaving the EU;
and calls on the Prime Minister to ensure that this House is able properly to scrutinise that plan for leaving the EU before Article 50 is invoked;
and believes that the process should be undertaken in such a way that respects the decision of the people of the UK when they voted to leave the EU on 23 June and does not undermine the negotiating position of the Government as negotiations are entered into which will take place after Article 50 has been triggered.)


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