Brexit: The European Union Withdrawal Bill

September 12, 2017 Europe , Opinion , OPINION/NEWS , POLITICS , UK

Reuters photo



Hazel Speed


In a late night vote following a day of debate in Parliament UK MPs backed the EU Withdrawal Bill by 326 to 290 votes, the Bill ending the supremacy of EU law in the UK following Brexit, which will now move onto the next Parliamentary stage.

Yesterday’s debate was predictably as colourful as the last, though did have its moments, as detailed below.


I think the live broadcast was best summed up when the TV cameras caught a Senior Member of the House fast asleep, and it was 4pm, therefore the debate had only been going about 30 minutes.

Then again, given he is of many former regimes in power, and has to be awake to vote at around midnight, one can empathise as Brexit debates do that to people.  What chance has the listener, however, if one of the participants is asleep?!

He bounced back into speech around 5pm, thereby proving the theory that an afternoon nap does wonders; though many prefer him to doze in terms of the content of some of his contributions.


Once again there were disrespectful references regarding King Henry VIII “…he is a bastard but he’s my kind of bastard,” said Sir Edward Leigh, Conservative MP for Gainsborough and Leave Voter.

I previously referenced scientific evidence regarding a severe blow to the King’s head in his youth thereby possibly the cause of changing a previously demure and kind nature.  What excuse do certain MPs have, one wonders?


Bernard Jenkin MP confirmed that both the same academic advice had been given to the UK and Scottish Governments (and I paraphrase the exact terminology) that upon leaving the EU, such a Withdrawal Bill merely reverts and devolves back to the UK which was only in place by benefit of the EU.  In other words a type of dissolving back to what was there in the UK in the first place.


Caroline Flint, MP Labour, Don Valley, spoke most eloquently and fairly, causing me to wonder if we were listening to a potential future Leader of the Opposition Party.

She said that she did not consider this Bill to be hugely controversial.  Ms Flint continued that ‘if you accept the will of the British people, then just get on with it’. Needless to say, Ms Flint suffered some taunts from her own side.

Ms Flint said ‘Do not kill the Bill at this stage’.  She added that they should all work together now, and made most sensible and practical comments indicating a pragmatism concerning the need for this Bill.


Zac Goldsmith, Conservative MP, Richmond Park, said that people voted to Leave and the Bill could be improved at the next stage, the Committee stage.  He added ‘do not block this Bill as it will be playing with fire.’

He added ‘we now can reform the common agricultural Bill, something we wanted for years.  We as a country have led the way on animal welfare.’

At this point a colleague interjected saying that ‘on leaving the EU we can bar the movement of live animals.’

Mr Goldsmith referred to the example of bull fighting in Spain.

He did add that our beaches are cleaner because of the EU so transferring all laws under this Bill is beneficial – principles need to be embedded under UK Law.


Bob Neill, Conservative MP, Bromley and Chislehurst, commented in respect of a few points but one being that the Bill needs improvement in a number of aspects at Committee stage.


Conor Burns, MP, Conservative Bournemouth West, Leave voter, gave a powerful account, i.e. how the papers were saying that the Government were rushing through this Bill before the people got it.  Quite the contrary, he remarked, the people, like himself, had given serious consideration to the issues of Brexit and voted to leave the EU so they want us to pass this Bill.

He joked about the Heinz 57 variety of views quoted by the benches opposite referring to the Opposition Labour Party.

He ended by quoting someone who had asked him to tell Parliament ‘for goodness sake just get on with it.’


One cannot help thinking upon listening to the tennis match of sniping back and forth and ‘nit picking’, especially by Chris Bryant, MP, Labour Rhondda and some youngsters of the House who speak to seasoned MPs as if they are the new kids at school, it is apparent everyone wants to go on record as speaking in this debate, if only to impress their constituents.

Most of what was said has already been regurgitated time and time again, and one was left wondering what an ad hoc reference to President Trump had to do with this Bill.

This is only the warm up for the big guns later in the day, surely Parliamentary time is more valuable than to be wasted in this way.


Simon Clarke, MP, Conservative, Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland, Leave voter; Putting aside the fact Middlesbrough once was, and should be again, within Yorkshire, the contribution given to the debate by this young man was eloquent and summed up the issues in a calm, succinct manner which was most convincing because of same.

A point others, such as Ms Lucas and many SNPs would do well to emulate as if one resots to yelling in angry words when presenting their case then their words themselves are redundant.

Simon Clarke gave details of three constituents, one who voted Remain, but that all wished matters to proceed and Brexit be delivered.  They were aware of all the issues and knew what decisions they were making and what that meant.

Mr Clarke detailed the relevant points in brief and concluded that if we leave Europe without this Bill in place then there will be confusion and lack of laws which would make the term Cliff Edge sound like a euphemism!

He also outlined that the people were their bosses and warned the Opposition Party should they ignore that, as to the reaction of the voters.


Wera Hobhouse, MP, Liberal Democrat, Bath; She will not support this Bill because of the sweeping powers it will give the Government.  This despite referring to the will of the people which is not fixed??

Democracy is the right to debate freely without being labelled, e.g. Remoaner, etc, etc, this MP stated.

Note: Democracy is also to act out the will of the people is it not?

This MP said her constituents stated that they did not swap backroom deals made by unknown faces/bureaucrats

Note:  A devil’s advocate retort to that would be, ok the Bill is not voted through, thus enabling EU laws to remain (causing a cliff edge Brexit), do they prefer to allow ‘faceless’ EU bureaucrats/powers that be, as at least (as said by Bill Wiggin, MP, North Herefordshire), we can put faces to UK bureaucrats.

That raised a laugh or two!


Richard Drax, MP, Conservative, South Dorset; ‘What on earth has come over this Great Country, one would think we are incapable of making our own laws.  I’m speaking up at last for Great Britain.’

He warned the Scottish National Party that they would rue the day if they got their wish of devolvement, and got the EU, if the EU allowed them.

(Note: I was not sure if he was referring to Scotland being a member of the EU or adopting that currency, though one assumes they would be both mutually linked).

He added that the public would never forgive if this Bill was not passed, and then debate could come later on.


Stuart C. McDonald, SNP, Cumbernaud, Kilsyth & Kirkintilloch East;  Amidst his variously catalogued dialogue which inferred that the UK Government were using this Bill as an opportunity to grab back laws from the Scottish Parliament, he was challenged by :-

Stephen Kerr, MP, Conservative, Stirling; Could he name one law which the Government wishes to grab back?

In reply, Mr McDonald could only run through a list of aspirations of what they themselves (in essence) wished to grab.  A list we all know off by heart ourselves now having been told countless times by SNP.

Note: Believe it or not, this writer has, at this point, been listening to the debate for four hours, out of which, the above has been extracted from the verbage of other remarks, but representative across the board.


Antoinette Sandbach, MP, Conservative, Eddisbury; This was yet another reasoned contribution in that this lady referred to some colleagues within her Party with whom she both agreed and disagreed on some issues, yet they all saw the necessity to vote for this Bill.

She did point out how some members of the Opposition Party had spent 40 years speaking against the EU yet now they are voting in an opposite direction. (Hint hint at whom?)

Ms Sandbach expressed some of her own reservations regarding this Bill and one wondered at one point as to which side she was speaking for.

She asked others to please support the principle of the Bill and then it can be amended.


Mark Hendrick, MP, Labour & Co-operative, Preston;  Confirmed within his role on a Scrutiny Committee that indeed considerable input was discussed until the early hours of the morning during many long, and sometimes boring sessions.

He said that he thought the scene was set, however, for the UK going backwards at the point of Brexit.

Note: Quite a surprising comment given his earlier remarks of everyone having had a fair Hearing at Committee stage.

He concluded by saying he would be voting against the Bill, having prefaced by inferred words to the effect that history would reflect the errors of these times.


Alex Burghart, MP, Conservative, Brentwood & Ongar;  The Opposition Secretary of State, he remarked, did not want the Government to go back to the drawing board, but he wanted the drawing board for himself.

Not only did they wish a legal black hole in voting against this Bill, but they wouldn’t stop there, instead would seek to bring the Government down.

Note: This is most certainly looking to be the case, due to the lack of any intellectual arguments being put forward by other Parties.





Hazel Speed

Photo (c) Hazel Speed – used by kind permision to Tuck Magazine

Hazel Speed is a Philosopher, Writer, and Artist with various creative projects at differing stages of development. Her flaship project is an animation which has produced a film short: She has also written an E-novel, ‘Just Suppose…!‘ which is available via the attached link.

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