Catherine McKinnell, MP for Newcastle North, has today urged the Government to ensure that the process of Britain’s exit from the European Union is properly scrutinised, and voted on, by Parliament following last month’s referendum result.
Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty sets out that ‘any Member State may decide to withdraw from the Union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements.’
It remains subject to legal argument, however, what those constitutional requirements for the UK should be – and the extent to which Parliament has the right to be involved in this complex process, or indeed whether legislation is required to invoke Article 50.
Speaking during an urgent question in the Commons on the issue this afternoon (11th July), Catherine asked:
‘The Minister cannot say what ‘Brexit means Brexit’ really means.
‘Is it not therefore vital – given we have no idea what the terms of this exit will actually be – that it is properly scrutinised and voted on by the democratically-elected members of this House?’
Commenting afterwards, Catherine said:
‘The decision to leave the EU will have a fundamental impact on the lives of millions of people up and down the country, and will affect virtually every area of policy-making – from our trading relationships, to immigration rights, economic development, environmental law, consumer protection and employment issues, to name but a few.
‘It’s incredible, but quite clear, that the Government made absolutely no contingency plans for this outcome, and is now scrabbling around to decide how this historic process will be handled.
‘It is imperative that Parliament holds the Government to account for the Brexit terms we end up with, and that means being involved in the whole process from the start – particularly when no one who voted on 23rd June could possibly know what the UK’s future outside the EU would look like.’