It has been wonderful to see so many people of all generations supporting Remembrance Day across High Peak.
I attended the service at Chapel as I do every year with my sons in the Cub Scouts. It is great for the youngsters to parade proudly through their home town with our veterans, to attend the church service in honour of our war heroes and witness the Armistice Day ceremony.
On Saturday, I attended the lovely service at St Anne’s Church in Buxton for the University of Derby’s graduation ceremony. It was poignant to reflect that so many servicemen from the two world wars were younger than today’s graduates as they embarked on a very different journey.
On Sunday afternoon I enjoyed the concert by Glossop Old Band for Remembrance Day and it was a real pleasure to join in the wartime songs with the packed audience of young and old alike.
Such a busy Remembrance weekend, focussing on the sacrifices made by previous generations to preserve our peace and prosperity, has been a fitting (and far more enjoyable) prelude to this week’s discussions on the EU Withdrawal Bill.
I am very pleased that the Government has now agreed to give Parliament a vote on the final exit deal, but there is still a lot in the Bill of great concern to me and to hundreds of constituents who have contacted me.
An enormous number of amendments to the Bill have been tabled by MPs from all parties. When deciding how to vote on these amendments, my basic principles for Brexit remain unchanged:
I respect the decision of last year’s Referendum, but I have taken heed of the pleas from businesses, both nationally and locally, that we need Transitional Arrangements to ensure that businesses can continue to operate smoothly with markets and supply chains in the EU. I will therefore not support any amendment that makes such arrangements impossible.
The Bill still seeks to enable any Government minister to make laws without needing a vote in Parliament – powers unprecedented since Henry VIII sought to set aside his wives.
I believe most people would be concerned about how such powers could be used, especially as we are now seeing so many calls for reductions in environmental standards, rights at work, consumer protections and safety standards. Whilst the Withdrawal Bill will protect such standards for the moment, they will be open to amendment in future.
Parliament should be able to robustly scrutinise any legislation proposed by ministers – as we would expect of a healthy democracy.
Our forefathers fought for us to live in a democratic country that protects all its citizens and I will try to ensure that we can continue to do so.