14th September 2017
In these two weeks between summer recess and party conference season I have got ‘stuck in’ on major debates on the Finance Bill and EU Withdrawal Bill.
On the Finance Bill, I used my experience as a tax accountant to contrast the government’s proposals to extend tax relief for super-wealthy ‘non-doms’ – while at the same time demanding more tax from people who are made redundant or suffer serious discrimination at work.
The proposals highlight that – despite her claims to the contrary – Theresa May’s government is attacking ‘ordinary working people’, whilst piling more tax relief onto the richest.
In response, the minister committed that the government will not raise the £30,000 tax-free threshold on redundancy payments, which is good to see, and I hope will help any staff in High Peak who may face redundancy.
I have been asked to be part of the Committee that will examine the Finance Bill in detail so I will be working with colleagues to try to amend the remaining unfairness.
This week I spoke on and voted against the EU Withdrawal Bill.
That does NOT mean that I voted against Brexit. I said in the debate, the Bill is not about whether Britain leaves the EU, but how we leave it – what role Parliament has and how we safeguard our vital rights and protections as we leave.
In the Bill, the Government are seeking an unlimited right to change legislation without any vote or scrutiny by Parliament. The impartial House of Commons Library says,
“Parliament is being asked to grant wide powers when there is little idea yet of how they might be exercised.”
Such powers are unprecedented since Henry VIII sought to get rid of his wives and ransack the monasteries.
MPs from all sides of the Brexit debate have raised their concerns.
The government have said they may make changes to the final Bill, but I do not trust a government that has sought to evade the scrutiny of Parliament on every occasion.
I would prefer a different Bill to transpose our rights into UK law – one that did not seek sweeping powers for ministers.
That is why I voted against the Bill, but as last night’s initial vote was lost, I will work with MPs on all sides to seek changes to limit the government’s power grab whilst ensuring that Brexit can proceed, with our rights and protections intact.
Details of these debates often do not come out in the media but I am happy to explain my position to constituents and seek to always act in their interests.