Local MP defied party whip to abstain on vote on EU trade deal
Rupa Huq MP campaigning for the People's Vote in Acton
The article 50 vote in 2017 to take the UK out of the EU saw a united front from local Labour MPs at the time who opposed this in contravention of the Labour whip.
For this Wednesday’s (30 December) Parliamentary vote on the EU Future Relationship Bill Rupa Huq MP was this time the only one who broke ranks by abstaining rather than supporting the government’s EU agreement.
She told us, “I didn’t want to feed into the narrative of Boris Johnson’s Christmas Eve miracle that everyone loved. I had serious misgivings about a massive downgrade which all but ignores the 80% of our economy that is services, when financial services, that gets 90 mentions in the 1,254 Trade and Cooperation agreement, is such a big local employer. Contrastingly fishing accounting for just 1% of the economy got 378 mentions.”
The bill easily passed all its Parliamentary stages in the commons and Lords in just one day by midnight leaving one final day before midnight on 31st when the UK finally left the EU’s orbit as the transition period ended .
Dr Huq commented, “I did not want to endorse a bad deal of which many of its unfolding negative consequences will further and further reveal themselves and prove to be damaging to constituents both economically (as every analysis shows) and culturally (end of Erasmus, no rights for touring musicians) and for both the prosperity and security of people in Ealing, Acton and Chiswick.”
She also went on both Channel 4 News and Times Radio to explain why she was abstaining saying, “Abstaining meant I was not blocking the passage of legislation to provide some cushion to the blow of Brexit.”
The bill massively passed by a majority of 448, the Ealing Central and Acton MP was one of 40 abstentions – 38 Labour and suspended plus 2 Tories. The debate which was heavily oversubscribed and time limited was largely conducted by virtual Parliament.
She stressed that she was honouring promises made to her electorate including the Green party who withdrew from the 2017 election in support of her candidacy on the proviso she fought against hard Brexit.
She concluded, “In contrast to the government’s unalloyed triumphalism, I personally feel a profound sense of sadness that our relationship with the EU had to end in this way. In a busy day just 4+ hours was afforded to a 50 year history and 80 page bill, meaning I was not able to speak in the debate – so much for the sovereignty of Parliament!”
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January 3, 2021