York MP’s opinions divided as Brexit trade deal is approved

30 Dec 2020 @ 2.31 pm
| News

York’s two MPs have had their say on the PM’s Brexit deal.

Boris Johnson has said the UK will “open a new chapter” thanks to the country’s post-Brexit EU trade deal – which the government hopes to ratify in parliament in a single day.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said the agreement was flawed, but the alternative of ending the transition period without a deal would be even worse.

The deal was passed by 521 to 73 votes.

The Brexit trade deal will now pass to the House of Lords. Peers are set to begin their debate on the trade agreement from 3pm. If they also approve the deal, the Commons won’t be required to vote on the agreement again.

Rachael Maskell, Labour MP for York Central, has highlighted how she thinks the Prime Minister has failed to negotiate the deal we were promised.

Julian Sturdy, Conservative MP for York Outer, called it a agreement which draws a line under more than four years of debate and division.

Both MPs voted for the bill.

Rachael Maskell. Photograph: Screengrab

Speaking earlier today, Ms Maskell said she thinks that 80% of the economy will not be covered by the Agreement, as financial services and other jobs in the service sector were not given the access into the EU market.

She told YorkMix “While there is tariff-free access for goods, there are considerable new measures that need to be taken at custom borders creating the friction that should have been avoided.

Much else has been missing from the arrangements including access to vital security databases, the Schengen Information System, and EU programmes like the Erasmus scheme which enables students to study in the EU.

For people who work, cross-border, including people who work in the music industry, the Prime Minister failed to provide them with a visa passport, resulting in more barriers to be faced.

The deal is not a good deal, but it is better than a ‘no deal’ scenario.

The Agreement itself is not being voted on, despite the hype that has been built around this.

I will be voting for the European Union (Future Relationships) Bill, as it puts in measures to prevent a ‘no deal’ scenario and provides some protection to our national security.

I will never play politics with the nation’s security or people’s jobs and livelihoods, however I am clear that this is a very poor deal, with so much missing.

Julian Sturdy

Also speaking before the vote, Julian Sturdy told YorkMix:

Today, I will happily vote in favour of the trade and cooperation agreement the government has concluded with the EU, securing ongoing free trade and friendly collaboration with our European neighbours, while regaining full national independence, and allowing our country to seek out new opportunities in the wider world.

This sensible agreement draws a line under more than 4 years of debate and division in our society, and lays the foundations of a far more positive and healthy relationship with the Continent than the one we previously enjoyed as a reluctant member state, outside the Euro and fundamentally unhappy with the undemocratic EU drive towards ‘ever closer union’.

Throughout this process since June 2016, I have always been clear that the government had to 100% deliver on the referendum’s instruction to leave, while protecting our economy, ensuring the best opportunities for the next generation, and maintaining a close partnership with Europe to respect the fact nearly half the country voted to remain. I am satisfied that this is what the deal provides.

As the largest trade agreement either the EU or our country has ever signed, and the first trade deal based on zero tariffs and quotas the EU has ever agreed to, this is a genuinely historic achievement, and the government’s negotiating team deserve huge congratulations.

Covering over £660 billion of trade, the agreement secures livelihoods and prosperity in York, nationwide, and across Europe, ensuring continued access to European markets for North Yorkshire’s food producers, and other major regional exporters.

Crucially, the deal secures this trade access without giving the EU any ability to write laws for the UK, ensuring we become fully legally independent of Brussels.

The government deserve credit for negotiating hard to defeat EU attempts to give themselves the power to hit us with punitive tariff sanctions if we refused to copy their rules whenever they changed them, which could have given them the ability to effectively continue to write British laws. Instead, both sides have agreed a fair system, with equal rights to protect each party against unfair competition, subject to arbitration.

I am very glad to see the deal also makes provision for ongoing cooperation with Europe on crime and security, and ensures York holiday-makers will still be covered by arrangements similar to the current EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) scheme.

Given York’s universities and dynamic science and tech sector, I am reassured that we will continue to participate in the EU Horizon research and innovation programme, and the Copernicus satellite project.

The agreement also returns to us full control of our precious fisheries resources as an independent coastal state, with the EU having to hand back 25% of their current fish catch in our waters over a 5 year transition period, after which we will negotiate annually with the EU on what access they may have to our waters, like any normal independent country.

As the first nation on earth to roll out the vaccine, we already know we can excel when we have the freedom to do things differently.

We now have the opportunity to be both a European and a more global country, something a confident, creative city like York should take in its stride. Amidst the gloom of coronavirus, trade-driven prosperity and international collaboration are essential to getting us back to normality, and this deal is an important step on that road, while ensuring we remain in control of our own destiny.”