My work on Brexit
My work on Brexit

People often ask me what I am doing to fight against the Tories’ disastrous Brexit. As a remainer, I believe we need a relationship which is as close as possible to the European Union.

Brexit has been a large part of my work in Parliament and the constituency since I was elected in 2015. Here is a non-exhaustive list of what I have done over the last couple of years, starting with the most recent:

  • 26th October 2019: the EU approved the Prime Minister’s request for an extension, which we forced him to ask for via the ‘Letwin Amendment’.
  • 22nd October 2019: The government’s Withdrawal Agreement Bill was given parliamentary approval at its second reading, but we again defeated the government on its programme motion – the wholly inadequate timetable for scrutinising the bill.
  • 19th October 2019: I whipped in support of the ‘Letwin Amendment’, which passed! See the BBC news website.  This meant the terms of the EU Withdrawal (Number 2) Act 2019 (the so-called Benn Act) kicked in and the PM was legally required to ask the EU for an extension. It also meant that government would submit a Withdrawal Agreement Bill (WAB).
  • 3rd October 2019: Criticised the government for not protecting touring musicians from the effects of Brexit.
  • 3rd October 2019: Directly challenged the Attorney General on whether the Prime Minister would be acting unlawfully if he took us out of the EU on 31 October without parliamentary approval.
  • 14th September 2019: Brexit Question Time – a two-hour public meeting with around 200 attendees at the Redland Park United Reform Church.
  • 9th September 2019: As an Opposition Whip, I helped to win four Brexit-related motions against Boris Johnston and the government. This included the publication of the shocking Yellowhammer report about the impact of a no-deal Brexit.
  • 5th September 2019: I asked James Duddridge MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, what proactive contact the government had made with small businesses indirectly affected by Brexit.
  • 2nd September 2019: In a series of parliamentary written questions I asked what contact each government department had had with Bristol City Council on preparation for a no-deal Brexit.
  • 31st August 2019: My message was read out at Bristol’s rally against the prorogation of Parliament.
  • 29th August 2019: I began a live blog on this website with regular updates on the UK’s national crisis.
  • 28th August 2019: Signed the Church House Declaration against the Prime Minister’s suspension of Parliament – a cynical attempt to shut the people’s elected representatives out of the process of leaving the EU.
  • 23rd August 2019: I posted an update with specific advice for local businesses and for EU citizens living in the UK – if we should leave the EU on 31st October with no withdrawal agreement in place. 
  • July and August 2019: Answered hundreds of constituents’ emails and petitions relating to our departure from the EU.
  • 14/16th June 2019: Panellist on Friday’s BBC Radio 4’s Any Questions, then BBC Sunday Politics, with Brexit inevitably one of the main topics.
  • 22nd May 2019: I agreed with Jeremy Corbyn and urged Prime Minister Theresa May to put her idea to the people to see if her deal was what people actually voted for.
  • 16th May 2019:  I asked the Department for Exiting the European Union what discussions the government had had with creative industry representatives.
  • 15th May 2019: I confronted the Prime Minister with her shrinking options – either another public vote, this time on her deal, or remaining in the EU.
  • 30th April 2019: Asked Education Minister Chris Skidmore to guarantee that students from EU countries and elsewhere will not be charged higher fees if the UK leaves the EU.
  • 24th April 2019: Set out reasons for staying in the EU at a Bristol Festival of Ideas event, ‘Britain Beyond Brexit’.
  • 1st April 2019: In the second round of indicative votes, I voted for a confirmatory public vote, blocking no deal, a customs union and Single Market membership.
  • 29th March 2019: Worked with other MPs to defeat the government’s Withdrawal Agreement for the third time, this time by 344 to 286 votes.
  • 27th March 2019: In the first round of indicative votes, I voted to revoke article 50 in the event of an impending no-deal exit, to hold a confirmatory public vote and to signal my support for several other scenarios.
  • 25th March 2019: Worked behind the scenes to build the support for the Oliver Letwin/Hilary Benn proposition for ‘indicative votes’.
  • 22nd March 2019: Challenged Brexit Minister Kwasi Kwateng to allow MPs to have indicative votes to show a way out of the Brexit crisis.
  • 28th February 2019: Twice questioned government ministers on how they will get Brexit legislation through by the deadline, receiving non-answers from both Andrea Leadsom and Chris Heaton-Harris.
  • 19th February 2019: Challenged the Solicitor General on the Opposition’s role in solving the Brexit impasse.
  • 7th February 2019: Asked Culture Minister Jeremy Wright about the process for ensuring mobile phone data roaming continues when the UK leaves the EU. On the same day, I also raised questions with Andrea Leadsom about the whereabouts of Brexit legislation.
  • 30th January 2019: Worked with MPs across parties to reject ‘no deal’ in an indicative vote. I also had the honour of announcing the result in the Commons.
  • 29th January 2019: Spoke in a debate on the Immigration Bill, which I opposed, as it gives little reassurance to the millions of citizens of other EU countries who have made their lives here. Watch the full speech.
  • 24th January 2019: Asked Brexit Minister Chris Heaton-Harris to take ‘no deal’ off the table and give businesses the reassurance they need.
  • 22nd January 2019: Challenged the Prime Minister to listen to remain voters and those worst affected by Brexit.
  • 15th January 2019: Along with other Labour whips, encouraged MPs to vote against the Prime Minister’s EU Withdrawal Agreement, resulting in what may be the worst government defeat ever.
  • 14th January 2019: Invited Bristol artist Elaine Robinson to spend a week in Parliament, where she gathered politicians’ fingerprints as part of an art project promoting unity during this time of stark disagreement.
  • 11th January 2019: Spoke in a debate on the EU Withdrawal Agreement, arguing for a fairer immigration system.
  • 7th January 2019: Asked Brexit Secretary Steven Barclay why the government won’t allow a vote on customs union membership.
  • 13th December 2018: Challenged the Leader of the House on the meaningful vote.
  • 12th December 2018: Confronted Brexit Minister Robin Walker on Theresa May’s decision to run away from the meaningful vote.
  • 11th December 2018: Challenged both Brexit Secretary of State and Leader of the House Andrea Leadsom on the next steps in the Brexit process.
  • 8th December 2018: Spoke at ‘Breaking Down Brexit, an event for students organised by University of Bristol Students’ Union.
  • 6th December 2018: For the SIXTH time, asked Andrea Leadsom when Parliament will debate the much-delayed Immigration Bill.
  • 4th December 2018: Alongside other opposition whips, managed to rally enough votes to defeat the government three times. The votes found ministers in contempt of parliament for withholding legal advice on Brexit. We also passed the Grieve amendment, which would give MPs a say over what happens, if the Prime Minister’s agreement is rejected by parliament.
  • 3rd December 2018: Confronted Attorney General Geoffrey Cox about the government’s attempts to hide legal advice on the EU Withdrawal Agreement.
  • 29th November 2018: Challenged Solicitor General Robert Buckland to publish the government’s legal advice on the EU Withdrawal Agreement, so MPs can properly scrutinise all the evidence.
  • 23rd November 2018: Met student-led Brexit campaign groups in Bristol and discussed strategy.
  • 22nd November 2018: Asked Transport Minister Jesse Norman what arrangements the government will make to keep Bristol’s aviation industry running if we crash out of the EU.
  • 15th November 2018: Challenged Prime Minister Theresa May to listen to the 48% of people who voted to remain in the EU. I also challenged Trade Minster Graham Stuart to confirm he will still be in his job to protect British businesses from the effects of Brexit, at a time when many other ministers were resigning over the Withdrawal Agreement.
  • 5th November 2018: Challenged Immigration Minister Caroline Nokes on whether the government will uphold its commitment to citizens of other EU countries living in the UK.
  • 25th October 2018: Asked Dominic Raab, Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, to start listening to Remain voters – government policy so far aims to satisfy only the most extreme Leave-supporting Tories.
  • 15th October 2018: In the House of Commons, challenged Prime Minister Theresa May on her plans to unite the country following Brexit.
  • 13th October 2018: Held a public event in Bristol for people concerned about Brexit. More than 200 people attended, many of them submitting questions. You can read the answers to the questions here.
  • 12th October 2018: Visited a construction materials company in my constituency and discussed their concerns about Brexit.
  • 20th September 2018: Met Gloucester Road traders and discussed their preparations and concerns for the UK’s departure from the EU.
  • 17th September 2018: On BBC News, debated Brexit with Jacob Rees Mogg, challenging his misleading claims about the benefits of no-deal Brexit.
  • 12th September 2018: Challenged DExEU Minister Suella Braverman about the government’s failure to allay the fears of citizens of other EU countries living in the UK.
  • 6th September 2018: I (again) challenged the Leader of the House Andrea Leadsom to provide appropriate time to debate the Immigration Bill, law which is likely to affect millions of people in the UK.
  • 24th August 2018: Wrote to health providers across the constituency asking them for information on their preparations and concerns for Brexit.
  • 24th July 2018: Argued that the Future Relationship White Paper should have taken greater account of the needs of workers who tour EU countries (such as musicians and sports people).
  • 19th July 2018: Pointed out to Brexit Minister Suella Braverman that government advice for preparations for “no deal” were branded “project fear” during the referendum, and that “no deal” would be a disaster for the creative industries.
  • 12th July 2018: Challenged Leader of the House Andrea Leadsom on when the government would be bringing forth key legislation that would be required if Brexit is going ahead under the timescale suggested by Article 50.
  • 10th July 2018: Asked Defence Minister Guto Bebb to reassure aerospace industry after Airbus warned it may leave the UK if its business is negatively affected by Brexit.
  • 28th June 2018: Challenged new Trade Minister George Hollingbery to confirm that the Government’s eagerness to sign trade deals will not mean they destroy vital protections in environmental standards and workers’ rights.
  • 14th June 2018: Asked Brexit Minister Robin Walker to give some clarity on whether the UK be able to continue to recruit the best scientists and researchers from across Europe after we leave the EU.
  • 12th June 2018: As an Opposition Whip, worked with colleagues to muster support for amendments to the EU Withdrawal Bill, including a meaningful vote on the final deal and other key protections for workers and the environment. The Tories eventually rejected these amendments.
  • 5th June 2018: Met with Margot James (Minister for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport), together with the Musicians’ Union, to discuss musicians touring Europe post-Brexit. Persuaded the Minister of importance of temporary visas.
  • 3rd May 2018: Challenged the Government on their lacklustre approach to the Brexit negotiations and how pensions will be affected.
  • 19th April 2018: Asked Transport Secretary Chris Grayling whether we would remain members of the European Aviation Safety Authority (EASA) – and if not, how we will function outside it.
  • 5th April 2018: Met large and small businesses from across the South West region to help them prepare for the future.
  • 29th March 2018: Asked the Minister for International Trade if he would meet with representatives of the creative industries and hear their concerns about Brexit directly.
  • 22nd March 2018: Asked Margot James MP, Minister of State, Department for Culture, Media and Sport, to meet with the Musicians’ Union to discuss their concerns. She agreed to meet them.
  • 15th March 2018: Asked Steve Baker, Parliamentary Undersecretary of State at the Department for Exiting the European Union, how the government plans to safeguard jobs in Bristol’s aerospace industry.
  • 22nd February 2018: Asked the Minister for International Trade what assurances he could give to Bristol’s creative industries that they would be supported if – reluctantly – we are to leave the European Union.
  • 7th February 2018: Asked the government how they would protect the Good Friday Agreement given their current approach to the Brexit negotiations.
  • 27th January 2018: Held public meeting discussing the UK’s relationship with the EU alongside representatives of TUC South West.
  • 21st December 2017: Asked the Secretary of State for Digital, Media, Culture and Sport to comment on the absence of impact assessment on the creative industries from the government’s analysis of the effects of Brexit on key UK industries.
  • 14th December 2017: Asked the government to enshrine in legislation the rights of EU citizens living in the UK, and UK citizens living in the EU.
  • 11th December 2017: Asked Theresa May if she had a different ballot paper for the EU referendum than the rest of us.
  • 2nd November 2017: Asked the government to keep the UK’s membership of Euratom on the table as part of any Brexit deal. The minister Steve Baker MP refused, claiming we need to leave Euratom if we are to leave the EU.
  • 12th October 2017: The Minister of State for Trade and Investment spectacularly sidestepped my question about giving Parliament the right to debate and vote on new trade agreements arising from our leaving the EU.
  • 14th September 2017: Asked the Solicitor General what assessment he has made of the potential effect of the UK leaving the EU on the level of prosecutions for hate crime towards EU citizens.
  • 12th September 2017: Participated in a Westminster Hall debate about the rights of UK citizens living in the EU.
  • 8th September 2017: Asked the government how they were going to ensure that collaborations between University of Bristol, UWE Bristoland other EU universities are protected in any future relationship we might negotiate with the European Union.
  • 29th June 2017: Voted for Amendment L to the Queen’s Speech which, among other things, calls on the government to deliver a deal which, as it has promised to do, delivers the exact same benefits as membership of the Single Market and the Customs Union.
  • 21st February 2017: Asked the Foreign Secretary how he plans to manage the important tripartite relationship between the UK, the EU and the US, post-Brexit.
  • 1st February 2017: Voted against the second reading of the Bill giving the government the power to trigger Article 50 and start the process of the UK leaving the EU.
  • 26th January 2017: Asked Secretary of State David Davis when he plans to publish the Government’s plan for the UK’s relationship with the EU after the UK has left the EU.
  • 19th December 2016: Spoke in a debate about the implications for science and research of leaving the EU.
  • 7th December 2016: Argued in favour of a motion to ask that the Government share its plans for Brexit.
  • 28th November 2016: Asked Sajid Javid, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, “What the Government’s policy is on the replacement of EU funding to community groups after the UK leaves the EU?”
  • 3rd November 2016: Pressed the Government further on their lack of preparation for the immensely complex set of negotiations that lie ahead if Britain is to exit the European Union.
  • 18th October 2016: Published an article on free movement and Brexit.
  • 12th October 2016: Spoke in a debate urging the Government to allow Parliamentary scrutiny of Brexit.
  • 8th September 2016: Asked Liam Fox what progress the Government have made on recruiting adequately skilled trade negotiators for exiting
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