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Julian Sturdy - Strong Voice for York Outer

Julian Sturdy

Member of Parliament for York Outer

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Statement on Sue Gray report

Statement on Sue Gray report

The Sue Gray report clearly shows that the Prime Minister has presided over a widespread culture of disregard for coronavirus regulations. Furthermore, questions are now being raised about whether the Prime Minister misled Parliament when asked about these events. Talking to constituents, it is clear discussions about parties in Downing Street remain a damaging distraction

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With nearly forty bills that will deliver on some of the Conservative Party’s biggest...

Julian helps deliver government compromise on Internal Market Bill to give Parliament greater say

September 18, 2020

As one of the 20 Conservative MPs who put their names to Bob Neill’s amendment to guarantee a House of Commons vote on overriding aspects of the EU withdrawal agreement in the event of an emergency, Julian has warmly welcomed the government’s announcement it will now incorporate this change into the new law.

The Internal Market Bill is an important part of completing an orderly Brexit process, returning powers currently exercised at EU level to the appropriate authorities across the country, ensuring businesses can trade unhindered across all nations of the UK through a united internal market, and allowing the government to provide funding for infrastructure, education and culture across the regions previously administered by the EU.

A small section of the Bill provides the government with emergency powers to depart from aspects of the withdrawal agreement with the EU, in the event no trade agreement can be reached, if the EU acted in bad faith, and sought to interpret these maliciously to disadvantage and divide the UK.

This has proved controversial, amid concerns that overriding the withdrawal agreement in this way could theoretically constitute a breach of international law, even if it was explicitly legal under British law as determined by Parliament.

Disapplying parts of the withdrawal agreement in this way would only be considered as an extreme last resort, if there is no other way to protect British interests in the face of hostile EU actions. However, Julian felt that government should only have the power to take such a drastic step with the clear consent of Parliament, and therefore decided to sign the Neill amendment, to force Ministers to guarantee a House of Commons vote before any use of these powers in an emergency.

On hearing of the government’s concession, Julian said: “I was fully prepared to vote against the government on this to defend the principle of parliamentary sovereignty, as I have already done earlier this year, but am very glad that they have taken the sensible course and committed to a Commons vote to decide whether these powers could be used.

I am hopeful that the government will reach a sensible trade agreement with the EU, so overriding the withdrawal agreement does not even have to be considered.

However, I felt I had to support this amendment to ensure these powers are only available for use by Ministers on the basis of a firm grounding in British law, and if Parliament gives its consent.

I think most people agree that the government should have the ability to protect UK interests if the EU does not act in good faith, but want Ministers to remain focused on securing a trade deal with Brussels.