In my new role as shadow minister for the Department for Exiting the European Union, I led the Opposition challenge to the government on the Withdrawal Agreement Bill (WAB), which implements the government’s Withdrawal Agreement and takes us out of the European Union on 31st January 2020.
This legislation is even more destructive than previous iterations of the so-called ‘Brexit deal’.
The government has removed protections to help unaccompanied child refugees to join family members in the UK. My friend Lord Dubs, inspiring campaigner for refugee rights, secured these commitments from the government in previous laws, as the rules about refugee family reunion are changed by Brexit.
After the general election, the government cruelly scrapped this commitment.
Last night Alf Dubs and our Brexit spokesperson Keir Starmer wrote to all Tory MPs to ask them to vote for Labour’s amendment and reinstate these protections. As a result of our cross partly working, all other MPs had already pledged support.
Unfortunately, this and Labour’s other amendments were voted down today.
This was upsetting.
Whether people voted Labour or Conservative, Brexit or Remain, I believe most people in this country agree we should help some of the most vulnerable children in the world. This goes to the core of the UK’s identity as a country.
Although our exit from the European Union now looks certain, I will continue to fight for the least harmful form of Brexit.
Today this meant standing up for vulnerable children, peace in Northern Ireland and parliamentary scrutiny of the process of negotiating the future relationship with the EU, leading for the Opposition on these amendments. I will continue to stand up for the views and needs of all people and businesses of Bristol West in Parliament, particularly as the government negotiates the UK’s future relationship with the EU.