Hartlepool MP sets out why he plans to vote against Brexit Bill

Hartlepool MP Mike Hill.
Hartlepool MP Mike Hill.

Hartlepool MP Mike Hill has set out his reasons why he will vote against a flagship Brexit bill by the Government.

Mr Hill says he will oppose the Great Repeal Bill/EU (Withdrawal) Bill when MPs vote on it in the Commons on Monday.

EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier, right, looks at British Secretary of State David Davis speak to the media prior to a meeting at the EU headquarters. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)

EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier, right, looks at British Secretary of State David Davis speak to the media prior to a meeting at the EU headquarters. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)

It will overturn the 1972 Act which took Britain into Europe and will switch relevant EU law onto the UK statute book.

Labour say the legislation goes against the principle of parliamentary sovereignty but will hand “sweeping powers” to ministers, and allow the Government to bypass parliament on key decisions.

Mr Hill said he has no intention of blocking Brexit, but says the bill is little more than a “power grab” by ministers.

He said in a statement: “It is on record that I personally voted to remain in the European Union, but from the outset I have always respected the decision of the British people and, of course, that of my constituents in Hartlepool.

“I have never aspired to and do not intend to block Brexit, therefore, I am pleased and reassured that this is not the intention of the Labour Party.

“Over the last few weeks I have been inundated with emails from constituents who have lobbied me to both vote for and against the Bill on Monday.

“Some put it plainly ie ‘Don’t block Brexit’, and some have written about the dangers of voting for the Bill and placing all powers in the hands of Ministers.

“As a democrat, my natural sympathies are with the latter group. I oppose the so-called ‘Henry VIII’ clauses and the plans to allow the Government to override Parliamentary democracy.

“As I said in response to Labour’s position on measures around the Customs Union and single market over a transition period, the Party is committed to leaving the EU but also wants to protect jobs, businesses, the economy and workers’ rights.

“That is why it is important to me that we do not absolve ourselves of Parliamentary scrutiny and hand executive powers to Ministers in a Tory minority Government with the prospect of them ripping up long fought for and important protections for the workforce, economy, business and environment.

“Because I am confident that the vote on Monday is not about blocking Brexit, which would be against the majority of my constituents’ wishes, but rather about preventing ministers from having Henry VIII type executive powers over Brexit, I will be voting against the Repeal Bill.

“I hope this message shows that I will not allow the people of Hartlepool to be rode roughshod over by this Tory power grab bill.”

Hartlepool voted by almost 70% to leave Europe in last year’s referendum – the highest in the whole of the North East.

Brexit Secretary David Davis said the Bill does not provide “unchecked” powers, adding: “Without this legislation, a smooth and orderly exit is impossible.”

He said the powers were limited, applying only to minor corrections on legislation directly linked to Brexit.

Ministers could not use the power to create serious criminal offences, amend human rights laws or increase taxation, he added.

Mr Davis said: “We cannot await the completion of negotiations before ensuring this legal certainty and continuity at the point of our exit.

“To do so or to delay or oppose the Bill would be reckless in the extreme.

“I have in the past witnessed the Labour Party on European business take the most cynical, unprincipled approach to legislation that I’ve ever seen. They’re now attempting to do the same today.”

Ministers have faced criticism over so-called “Henry VIII powers” in the Bill, which would allow secondary legislation to be passed with little parliamentary scrutiny.

Senior Tories Ken Clarke and Dominic Grieve are among those to have called for a rethink by the Government.