Ben Dean-Titterrell

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Tag: Article 50

Bernard Jenkin weekly: No.12

Week 23 January – 29 January

In a week when Donald Trump signed an Executive border banning immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries, Theresa May visited the new US president at the White House, and the Supreme Court ruled that MPs must be allowed to vote on the activation of Article 50 before Brexit negotiations have begun, what did Bernard Jenkin do?

Speeches and written questions

Mr Jenkin made four contributions in Parliament this week on four separate issues, the first of these coming on Monday during a statement by Defence Secretary Michael Fallon on reports of the misfiring of a Trident missile during a test operation.

Mr Jenkin rose to ask Mr Fallon whether it wasn’t ironic that many MPs who had already spoken and expressed concern about any possible lack of credibility of the deterrent when some of them do not believe in the concept of a deterrent in the first place. He added, “It would be unwise of the Russians or any other potential adversary to suggest that they could take the risk of invading this or that country on the basis that we might have a misfire of one of our missiles.”

The Defence Secretary replied to Mr Jenkin by saying that he agreed with him and expressing his pleasure that the overwhelming majority of MPs voted to maintain the deterrent last year.

Mr Jenkin’s next contribution in the House of Commons came the following day during a session of questions to the Brexit Secretary David Davis following the Supreme Court’s Article 50 ruling. While fellow Conservative MP Anna Soubry was asking a question she said “The reality is that we have abandoned the single market and the free movement of people without any debate in this place, never mind a vote.”

In response to this Mr Jenkin said “We had a referendum.” Following the MP for Harwich and North Essex’s interjection Ms Soubry replied “Well, there was one question on the paper: leave or remain. We are leaving the European Union—that is accepted.” and continued with her question to the Brexit Secretary.

Later on the same day Mr Jenkin made a more substantial contribution during a debate on appointing the new Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration and Health Service Commissioner for England. In his speech he spoke of the history and purpose of the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee and the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman.

He also spoke about what the PHSO must do in the future, “The PHSO must improve the quality and speed of its investigations. It must implement technological change. It must adapt to the way in which people in our society expect a complaints process to work, and it must better retain and engage its staff in order to do so. It must do all that while reducing costs and overheads.”

Mr Jenkin concluded by saying he believed the candidate for the roles of Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration and Health Service Commissioner for England, Rob Behrens, had the skills to be successful and that he looked forward to working with him in the future.

Mr Jenkin’s last contribution of the week came when asking a question to David Jones, Minister of State in the Department for Exiting the European Union, about farming regulations post-Brexit. He asked the Minister how the government will “approach the regulations and directives that will be created and implemented between now and the date we leave the European Union?” Mr Jones replied to Mr Jenkin by saying “The great repeal Bill will absorb the body of EU law into British law. Once we have left the European Union, we will be in a position to review all that legislation and take the decisions that are best for British agriculture.”

Voting record

Bernard Jenkin voted six times this week on a variety of issues.

On 24 January Mr Jenkin voted three times on three different issues. He voted: for a motion put forward by fellow Conservative MP Chris Philip to bring forward a bill to regulate industrial action by those providing certain critical national services; against a proposed opposition amendment to an earlier Lords amendment to the Wales Bill which would have changed the maximum charge of gaming machines under regulations in Wales; and for a motion that would approve the Charter for Budget Responsibility: autumn 2016 update.

On 25 January Mr Jenkin voted another three times on another three issues. He voted: for approving the draft Bank of England and Financial Services (Consequential Amendments) Regulations 2017; against a proposed opposition motion that would have called on the Government to reduce overcrowding and improve safety while still ensuring that those people who should be in prison are in prison; and against a proposed opposition motion that would have called on the Government to ensure that all schools have the funding that they need to provide an excellent education for every child.

Mr Jenkin was loyal to the government on all six votes this week. He voted with the majority on all but the first division he voted on this week.

Select committees

The Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee was the only one to carry out any oral evidence sessions this week. The committee carried out one hearing on the structure and organisation of the Civil Service.

On 24 January the committee questioned Rupert Soames, Chief Executive and Serco and public services specialist. As chair of the committee Mr Jenkin led the questioning.

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Bernard Jenkin weekly: No.9

Week 5 December – 11 December

In a week when MPs voted overwhelmingly to back a motion that backed the Prime Minister’s plan to activate Article 50 by the end of March next year, the Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson got himself in trouble for saying Saudi Arabia is involved in proxy wars, and the Supreme Court heard the government’s appeal to an earlier High Court ruling that said Parliament would have to vote on the activation of Article 50, what did Bernard Jenkin do?

Speeches and written questions

Mr Jenkin spoke several times this week during one debate on Wednesday about the motion to back the governments plan for Brexit. His first contribution to the debate was an intervention while Ken Clarke, MP for Rushcliffe, was speaking. He said that he welcomed what he saw as Mr Clarke agreeing with the idea that Parliament should be supreme. Mr Jenkin added, “Is it not rather odd that we now have a Supreme Court that sees itself as a constitutional court able to direct that this House shall have to do something, which has always previously been our right?”

When Mr Jenkin next spoke he began his speech by saying he found the speech by Labour MP Andy Burnham, which had just preceded him, refreshing. He spoke of the need to, as he put it, “take on board the points made about healing divisions and adopting the right tone.”

He spoke of the need to, as he put it, “take on board the points made about healing divisions and adopting the right tone.” Mr Jenkin stressed that the UK has been a member of the EU for less than 50 years and said that while we debate the issue hotly now, “all the controversy will pass, and we will look back with much more equanimity than we feel today.”

The MP for Harwich and North Essex then took an intervention from John Redwood, a fellow Conservative MP and Brexit supporter, who said that it people should unite and not look for “possible or imaginary problems” regarding Brexit if the UK is to have the best negotiating position. Mr Jenkin said he agreed with Mr Redwood.

Mr Jenkin outlined that he saw two aspects to the motion the House was debating, that the government will produce a plan for Brexit and that most members of the House would vote for the activation of Article 50 by the end of March 2017. He said that this raises the question of why there is a the need for a Supreme Court case on the issue, “it prompts the question of why there is a court case, and why the courts have chosen to become involved, particularly once the motion is carried. We do not need a court to tell the House that it is sovereign.”

“The House could stop Brexit whenever it wanted, as it could stop anything else that a Government do if it chose to do so. It is unfortunate that a different kind of judiciary is developing, as I do not think that Parliament ever voted for that.”

After taking an intervention from SNP MP Angus MacNeil in which he warned that rushing into Article 50 may leave the UK without a trade deal with the EU after the negotiations were concluded, Mr Jenkin asserted that “a great deal of industry is quietly preparing for the possibility that there will not be an agreement.”

Later in his speech Mr Jenkin said that the government should look to put as little as possible into and not overload the agreement with the EU after Article 50 is activated. He made several suggestions about a couple of negotiating positions the government should take.

“Our opening pitch should be very simple. We should make an offer—a zero/zero offer: we will give EU countries zero tariffs on their exports to our country, if they will give us zero tariffs on their imports from us.”

“We should also offer an opportunity for mutual recognition of services agreements so that we can continue trading in services, as we do now. That, again, would be in everybody’s interest.”

Mr Jenkin finished his speech by speaking about the need for a simple repeal Bill to remove the European Communities Act from UK statute, “We need a repeal Bill of only a few clauses, setting out the principles by which we leave. It is worth reminding ourselves that the Czech Republic and Slovakia were one country and within six months of deciding to split, they split, and they are better friends now than they ever were before. That is the kind of relationship that I look forward to having with our European partners.”

Voting record

Mr Jenkin voted twice this week, both times on the motion calling on the government to activate Article 50.

On Wednesday he voted: for the Labour motion calling on the government to publish its plan for Brexit before Article 50 is activated; and for the government amendment to the motion which called on the government to activate Article 50 by the end of March 2017.

Mr Jenkin voted with the majority and was loyal to the government on both votes this week.

Select committees

The Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee carried out one oral evidence session this week. The session was for the committee’s inquiry into the government accounts.

Four MPs were questioned during the hearing: Craig McKinlay MP, Parliamentary Representative on the Financial Reporting Advisory Board, Dr John Pugh MP, co-author of Options to improve Parliamentary Scrutiny of Government Expenditure: a report to the Chancellor, and Rt Hon David Gauke MP, Chief Secretary to the Treasury.

Julian Kelly, Director General, Public Spending and Finance at the Treasury was also questioned during the session.

Bernard Jenkin weekly: No.5

Week 7 November – 13 November

In a week when Donald Trump was elected as the next President of the United States, yes really, Donald Trump was elected president, and, I’ll say it one more time so we’re clear, Donald Trump was elected the 45th President of the United States of America, what did Bernard Jenkin do?

Speeches and written questions

Mr Jenkin made one contribution this week in the House of Commons on 7 November about the High Court’s ruling that Parliament must vote on triggering Article 50.

He asked a question to the Brexit Secretary David Davis in which he first asked whether the Secretary of State was “aware that some people have been describing this moment as some kind of constitutional crisis?” He also invited Mr Davis to pursue an appeal at the Supreme Court and seek to get the High Court judgement overturned.

Voting record

Mr Jenkin did not vote in any divisions this week.

Select committees

The committees on which Mr Jenkin sits did not hold any oral evidence sessions this week.