Worcester MP Robin Walker, who is also a Minister in the Department for Exiting the European Union has welcomed the news that sufficient progress has been made to move on to phase 2 of the negotiations that will see the United Kingdom leave the European Union. The announcement from the European Council, that has approved the joint report from the UK Government and the European Commission, represents a significant breakthrough on a number of key areas including citizens’ rights, Northern Ireland and the financial settlement.

The deal provides clarity for 3 million EU citizens living in the UK and more than a million UK citizens living in Europe. EU citizens will have their rights enshrined in British law and enforced by British courts. In Northern Ireland there will be no hard border and the British Government will meet all its obligations under the Belfast Agreement.

The agreement is a vital step forward in negotiating the UK’s exit from the European Union going into the next stage of talks. These will focus on trade and economic cooperation, security, defence, and the positive future relationship between an independent United Kingdom and the European Union. The joint report commits both parties to a trade deal and discussing a time-limited implementation period early in the process of negotiations.

As a Minister in the Department, Robin has also been present in the Chamber throughout the Withdrawal Bill’s Committee Stage. This has so far involved seven 8 hour days of intense debate. Hundreds of amendments to the bill have been debated and the vast majority withdrawn. Of the 35 votes on amendments the Government has won 34 with majorities averaging around 22 and the one vote which was lost by a handful of votes is on a technical matter which will not change the main effect of the bill.

The Government has already committed to holding a vote on the final deal in parliament as soon as possible following the conclusion of negotiations. Both the House of Commons and the House of Lords will be able to scrutinise and have a meaningful vote on the deal soon after it is reached and before the European Parliament. The Government has also announced that there will be a Withdrawal Agreement and Implementation Bill to legislate in putting the detail of any agreement into UK law and creating a time-limited implementation period.

Robin has held a number of meetings with local businesses and organisations to discuss the process of Brexit as well as regularly meeting constituents at his surgeries to discuss their specific concerns and suggestions. Following the referendum he set out clearly that parliament must accept the result and that MPs of all persuasions should work together to make it a success.

Robin said

“I am delighted that we are now progressing onto the next stage of talks on this vital process.

“It is crucial that we get certainty on the statute book and that we reach a deal with the European Union that can be put directly into UK law. The Government made clear that it is vital that we protect citizens’ rights and I am delighted that we can move on to the next stage of negotiations having provided stability for 4 million across Britain and Europe. In Worcester, there are many EU citizens living and working in the city who will join me in welcoming these assurances.”

“I know that businesses want to know the trading arrangements between the UK and the European Union as soon as possible and that’s why it is important that we move forward to a discussion on trade and our relationship with Europe.”

Businesses both national and local want the benefit of a simple transition where they don’t need to go through two sets of changes and that is why I welcome the commitment from both sides to talk about this issue early in the process of the negotiations. The Prime Minister has made clear many times that we are leaving the EU but not Europe and I think it is vital that we strike a new deal to establish a new partnership with our friends and neighbours.

“After seven days in Committee Stage in the House of Commons hundreds of amendments have been rejected by the House and only one passed. The Government won all but one of the 35 votes and the bill is making excellent progress.”

“This bill will ensure that we have continuity, certainty and control over our own laws and I am looking forward to debating other aspects of the process as we continue to negotiate our exit from the European Union.”

“I respect the fact that there are strongly held views across the House of Commons on these issues and it is right that parliament has a significant say in how we prepare our statute book for the day on which we leave the European Union. It is also right that with parliament having voted to trigger Article 50 earlier this year we will be leaving the European Union in March 2019. I will continue to work to ensure we do so in a way that not only delivers on the referendum result but brings together people together whether they voted leave or remain.”



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