The White Paper & the Political Migraine Stopping Labour Head-Girl from Voting

Westminster- Adel Darwish 

HM government  published an official policy document setting out its Brexit plans; known as “ The White Paper” which  opposition MPs and the remainers have been urging The Prime Minister to do. 

The White Paper, a 77 page document in dark grey rectangle on the front page, lays out the government’s 12 “principles” , previously spelt out by Mrs May in her Lancaster House Speech last month,  including migration control and “taking control of our own laws”.

The paper presented by David Davis MP, The Secretary responsible for leaving the European Union who said the country’s “best days are still to come”, outside the EU.

The Opposition labour party Labour criticised the White papeer as “says nothing” and had been produced too late for “meaningful” scrutiny.

The White Paper, officially known as “ The Uniteds Kingom’s Exit from, and new partnership with, the European Union White Paper”  sets out the themes of the government’s objectives  to reach by negotiations with the EU.

Divided into 12 chapters, introduction and explanation alendix, the summary of the sections:

Trade: The UK will withdraw from the single market and seek a new customs arrangement and a free trade agreement with the EU.

Immigration: A new system to control EU migration will be introduced, and could be phased in to give businesses time to prepare. The new system will be designed to help fill skills shortages and welcome “genuine” students.

Expatriates: The government wants to secure an agreement with European countries “at the earliest opportunity” on the rights of EU nationals in the UK (about Three millions ) and Britons living in Europe a bit over a million).

Sovereignty: Britain will leave the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice but seek to set up separate resolution mechanisms for things like trade disputes.

Border: Aiming for “as seamless and frictionless a border as possible between Northern Ireland and Ireland.”

Devolution: Giving more powers to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland as decision-making is brought back to the UK.

The document says the government will “keep our positions closely held and will need at times to be careful about the commentary we make public”, with MPs offered a vote on the final deal.

Labour Political Migraine & The Brexit Bill Vote

Following two days of passionate debate, the commons voted on Wednesday evening to authorise the government to give the EU notice of withdrawal and start the plan outlined in the White papers when MPs backed the European Union Bill by 498 votes to 114.

MPs will discuss the bill in more detail next week when it reaches the committee stage in the Commons, and Labour has vowed to force through amendments.

Hundreds of amendments have already been tabled for debate between Monday and Wednesday, with objectives set out in the government’s strategy expected to attract more. A total of 47 Labour rebels voted against the bill. Shadow cabinet members Rachael Maskell and Dawn Butler quit the party’s front bench shortly before Wednesday evening’s vote, and in total, 13 Labour frontbenchers voted against their own party position which was to support the bill as well as three whips who are supposed to enforce party discipline.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme Thursday Morning, shadow chancellor John McDonnell said other parties had also been divided on the issue, with two of the Liberal Democrats’ nine MPs abstaining despite orders to oppose the bill.  Mr McDonnell said a decision on whether frontbench rebels could remain in their jobs would be taken “in due course”, and that the atmosphere in his party was “one of mutual respect”, with determination to oppose a “reckless Brexit”. He added that  Labour  would unite after the government triggers official negotiations under Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty while “the Tory Party will split apart”.

Mr McDonnell also said shadow home secretary Diane Abbott had missed the vote because she “wasn’t very well”. Ms Abbott. Who claimed to have suffered migraine was seen most of the day at Westminster and after the vote she was spotted drinking with a Labour Peer and Shadow foreign Secretary in the Red Lion Pub , Parliament Street, opposite the Parliament Library entrance on Derby gate

Typo, Correction, and  Longer holidays?

In a section comparing employment rights in the UK with the rest of the EU, a chart on page 32  has raised a few eyebrows by claiming UK workers are currently entitled to a generous 14 weeks of annual leave.

But the government quickly contacted hacks and MPs to correct it to 4 weeks as it was a typo since editors were tired working at 04:15 GMT on the day of publication.