This week, MPs have returned to Westminster, with the General Election result on 12 December still fresh in our minds.
People across the Forest of Dean and the country told us to ‘Get Brexit Done’, so it is no surprise that Brexit legislation is dominant on the agenda in the House of Commons this week.
The EU (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill seeks to put the new deal negotiated by the Prime Minister Boris Johnson into law by the end of this month so that we can leave the EU in an orderly fashion.
Just before Parliament rose for Christmas, I was pleased to vote in favour of the Bill at Second Reading alongside my Conservative colleagues.
This legislation will mean the rights of EU citizens, EEA EFTA nationals, Swiss nationals and their family members legally resident in the UK will be incorporated into domestic law
The Bill will also establish an Independent Monitoring Authority (IMA) to monitor the UK’s commitments on citizens’ rights. In the EU and EEA EFTA states, UK nationals will have their rights monitored in the same way by the European Commission and the EFTA Surveillance Authority respectively.
Northern Ireland’s place in the United Kingdom is also protected by this legislation, ensuring that the whole of the United Kingdom will be a single customs territory outside of the EU customs union, while allowing Northern Ireland to benefit from the UK’s future trade deals with third countries. It replaces the backstop provisions and achieves the common aim of avoiding a hard border on the island of Ireland. Northern Ireland will be allowed to remain aligned with specific EU rules in customs, goods, VAT, and the Single Electricity Market only for as long as the people of Northern Ireland wish this system to continue.
When I and every Conservative MP stood on a manifesto at the General Election last month to get Brexit done, we meant it. The progress through Parliament of this Bill is an example of what a majority Conservative Government can do and is another huge step taken on the road to our departure from the EU on January 31st.