Firstly, lets get the good bit over with.
Heidi, thank you. True to part of your word you voted for parliament to be given a slightly more meaningful say, by going against the government and voting for amendment 110. Slightly more meaningful in that it would have allowed parliament to send the government back to the negotiating table - not completely meaningful as it would still require the EU to agree to continuing negotiations as well (something nobody saw fit to ask the government to do before they were given authority for pulling the trigger on our economy, influence and general national well being... sorry, sorry I mean of course pull the trigger on Article 50.)
Amendment 110 reads:
- Following the exercise of power in section 1, any new Treaty or relationship with the European Union must not be concluded unless the proposed terms have been subject to approval by resolution of each House of Parliament.
- In the case of any new Treaty or relationship with the European Union, the proposed terms must be approved by resolution of each House of Parliament before they are agreed with the European Commission, with a view to their approval by the European Parliament or the European Council.
The bad news of course is that this amendment failed. As did all of the other amendments (including an important one about giving the people the final say on the deal - something which is key because MPs have clearly stated that they feel they have abrogated responsibility for what is in our best interest to us already).
So, given Heidi said that:
I must be assured that we will not go plunging out of the single market without tariff free trade for our core industries, nor will I allow our hard working EU citizens to be marginalised in anyway.and, that she and the rest of parliament has been denied any guaranteed means of ensuring this happens, we can assume that she voted against the third reading fo the A50 bill? No. Apparently not.
The government has been given, by parliament, the ability to negotiate any deal they see fit. They may, or may not, listen to MPs in the process, but there is very little they can do to ensure this happens now. They will get a vote on the deal, but this is a take it or leave it arrangement - accept the deal or crash out of the EU with nothing (probably not even the clothes on our back).
And whilst we are looking at that quote... about that last bit: "... nor will I allow our hard working EU citizens to be marginalised in anyway"
I mooted some scepticism before about this, and sadly it turns out I was right. An amendment to the bill to ensure that the gov protected the rights of EU citizens was voted on by parliament and Heidi, given the opportunity to do just what she said she would do, abstained.
When questioned on twitter as to why she gave this response:
What!? The whole point of this amendment was to give the executive, who are meant to take direction from parliament (because, you know, parliament is sovereign - there was even some low key court cases which categorically demonstrated this principle), i.e MPs like Heidi, an instruction not to make EU citizens a hostage to negotiations.@niblick_iii Because the PM has given her word she will sort asap after Art50 triggered, so she must be given the chance. Abstention=trust— Heidi Allen MP (@heidiallen75) February 9, 2017
Theresa May has had a chance every single day since she was made PM on the 13th of July to do this. She hasn't and has in fact continued to say she wants to protect these rights, she really does (though anyone remember those 'go home' vans she ordered at the Home office - or hasread this may find that hard to believe). Why hasn't she then, because she has said she will only do so if the rights of UK citizens are also guaranteed.
Now, there are many who believe this is somehow acceptable, that if our UK citizens are not guaranteed we must retaliate by denying them for people who have lived and contributed to our society. I find that deplorable. And, I thought Heidi did as well. "... nor will I allow our hard working EU citizens to be marginalised in anyway" certainly sounds like it.
The only reason Theresa May wants to wait until after triggering A50 to 'sort ASAP' is because she has want to make their rights conditional. If this is the 'word' she has given then supporting it is the same thing as saying Heidi believes Theresa must be given the opportunity to bargain with EU citizens rights and try and secure them. That is, to my mind, totally unacceptable.
These people deserve to have their rights guaranteed right now. Heidi is fobbing us off with the excuse that Theresa May should be allowed the 'chance' to make good on a bad promise is just not enough. This decision rested, rightfully, in the hands of parliament to decide. If she is unwilling to take the responsibility for making the decisions that she is elected to make, on our behalf, perhaps she should step down and let someone do it who is willing to do so.
Either that or stop pretending to care about unequivocally guaranteeing the rights of EU citizens, and admit she supports the PM's position that they should be part of the A50 negotiations.