Worcester MP Robin Walker has welcomed the passing of the Withdrawal Agreement Bill’s (WAB) third reading in the House of Commons, which will ensure that the UK can leave the EU in an orderly fashion as per the Conservatives’ strong manifesto pledge. Robin had already voted for a deal on a number of occasions and, with a clear majority in the House, MPs voted for legislation to deliver a deal.
The Commons voted 330 to 231 in favour of the Withdrawal Agreement Bill and it will now pass to the House of Lords for further scrutiny next week. It took just three days for the bill to pass the remaining stages in the Commons, after MPs gave their initial approval to the legislation before the Christmas recess.
The Government is delivering on the promise made to the British people to get Brexit done. As a former Minister in the Department of Exiting the European Union (DExEU), Robin was invited to the front bench for the last ever DExEU questions preceding the passing of the bill, as we finally release the country from the stranglehold of indecision, restore confidence to people and businesses and get Brexit done.
Securing the deal would mean securing certainty for millions of people – EU citizens living in the UK and UK citizens living around Europe that not only would their right to remain be respected, as the UK has been clear it will in any case, but that their wider rights would be protected through a binding international agreement which covers recognition of professional qualifications, family reunion, healthcare, pensions and many other areas. Robin has always been clear that such a deal is the best outcome for citizens but particularly for UK citizens who have not, in all cases, had such a generous offer from their host states.
Robin was a Minister in DExEU for over three and a half years, and he played a key role in negotiating bilateral treaties which secured the respective rights of British and EU citizens to vote and run in municipal and local elections. This included the Spanish Treaty which was the first of its kind.
Robin headed the debate in the committee stages of the WAB on how the legislation protects the unique set of arrangements in Northern Ireland that were enabled by the Good Friday Agreement, respecting the principle of consent, the need to avoid a hard border and the importance of both North South and East West cooperation and Trade. The Bill contains a dedicated mechanism to protect the rights enshrined in the Good Friday Agreement and has been approved by the Governments of both the UK and the Republic of Ireland.
Secretary of State for the Department of Exiting the European Union, the Rt Hon Stephen Barclay MP said:
“The House of Commons approved the WAB with a majority of 99. This Bill will implement in UK law the Withdrawal Agreement between the United Kingdom and the EU, ensuring the UK departs the EU with a deal, getting Brexit done on the 31st of January as we promised the British public we would do.”
“Once Brexit is delivered on the 31st of January, we can then turn our attention to other national priorities. The priorities of education and skills, of making our country safer, investing in the future of our much-loved NHS, and levelling up all parts of the UK. Passing this Brexit Bill will allow the time and energy to make these priorities a reality.“
Speaking after the deal passed, Robin said:
“The deal protects the integrity of the UK, the peace process in Northern Ireland and the principle of consent. It will also provide much needed certainty to millions of citizens and businesses up and down the country.”
“As a Minister with the Department of Exiting of the European Union for over three years, I was proud to sit on the front benches for the last questions for DExEU Ministers before the Department dissolves. This is the culmination of years of hard work in which I was pleased to have been able to secure citizen and voting rights, and protection of the Good Friday Agreement.”
Notes to editors
For more information on the Brexit, please see:
For more information on the new Brexit deal, please see: