The many wrongs of the Tories’ Brexit bill

The Guardian - - LETTERS -

J Cameron Smith (Let­ters, 13 Septem­ber) is wrong to sug­gest EU leg­is­la­tion “en­tered our laws from the EU with­out par­lia­ment be­ing in­volved”. The UK par­lia­ment agreed in the first place that sovereignty should be pooled in ar­eas of com­pe­tence where nec­es­sary ac­tion is best taken at the level of the EU. All pro­pos­als for leg­is­la­tion in those ar­eas have to be scru­ti­nised by the rel­e­vant com­mit­tees of the Com­mons and the Lords.

The ap­proach that the UK gov­ern­ment pro­poses tak­ing has to be cleared by those com­mit­tees be­fore a min­is­ter can agree a com­mon po­si­tion in the Euro­pean coun­cil of min­is­ters. Scru­tiny com­mit­tees can rec­om­mend that be­fore the UK’s scru­tiny re­serve can be lifted a res­o­lu­tion on a par­tic­u­lar leg­isla­tive pro­posal should be de­bated on the floor of the house.

Those who ob­ject to the EU bill as pre­sented to par­lia­ment should not be char­ac­terised as “re­main­ers”. They have every right to chal­lenge the bill’s pro­vi­sions, which would al­low min­is­ters pow­ers un­prece­dented in peace­time to amend ex­ist­ing leg­is­la­tion with­out ef­fec­tive par­lia­men­tary scru­tiny. Michael Brown Bex­hill-on-Sea, East Sus­sex • Caro­line Flint (For­get trench war­fare. We need to make the EU bill work, 13 Septem­ber) wishes to smooth the path of a bill whose ef­fect will be to make non-UK EU na­tion­als liv­ing here jump through hoops to re­tain rights that should be theirs in per­pe­tu­ity. Man­aged mi­gra­tion is a fine phrase, but its re­al­ity is hu­mil­i­at­ing, ex­pen­sive forms and un­cer­tainty about the fu­ture with your loved ones. Mi­gra­tion is not the cause of the de­cline in liv­ing stan­dards and no wall, no mat­ter how high, will make Ms Flint’s con­stituents bet­ter off. Who will she blame next? Labour should tell the truth about the causes of poverty and stop pan­der­ing to prej­u­dice. In par­tic­u­lar, there should be no co­op­er­a­tion of any kind with this gov­ern­ment un­til the rights of peo­ple who have made their home in this coun­try are un­con­di­tion­ally guar­an­teed. Martin Hous­den Lon­don • It shows one form of in­tegrity for Caro­line Flint to vote for the ap­palling EU bill – but there is more than one in­tegrity game in town. The greater one is to vote against the bill for two hon­ourable rea­sons: be­cause it’s an­tidemo­cratic; and to fa­tally wound this au­thor­i­tar­ian, in­com­pe­tent gov­ern­ment as a step to­wards Labour lead­ing Brexit talks. Labour missed that boat by vot­ing for ar­ti­cle 50 in an equally naive, tun­nelvi­sioned and un­strate­gic way. How long must we wait for a Labour party that places as much value on gain­ing power as do the Tories? But never mind – Caro­line Flint keeps her in­tegrity. Prof Sav­ille Kush­ner Bris­tol • I am mys­ti­fied as to how leav­ing the EU will be an op­por­tu­nity for the gov­ern­ment to im­prove the UK’s air qual­ity stan­dards all by it­self (UN: Bri­tain is flout­ing duty on pol­lu­tion, 11 Septem­ber). It is the EU that laid down the stan­dards that the gov­ern­ment failed to meet. Just seven months ago, you re­ported the EU’s fi­nal warn­ing to the UK for “per­sis­tently con­tra­ven­ing legal ni­tro­gen diox­ide lev­els” (Re­port, 15 Fe­bru­ary) and the im­mi­nence of court pro­ceed­ings. Hav­ing been shamed into ac­tion, the gov­ern­ment now tries to claim credit for what the EU has done and seeks the moral high ground of even tougher stan­dards. Tony Robin­son Frin­ton-on-Sea, Es­sex • There is one im­por­tant piece of leg­is­la­tion that the gov­ern­ment does not in­tend to trans­fer into UK law, namely ar­ti­cle 13 of the treaty which recog­nises that non-hu­man an­i­mals are sen­tient be­ings ca­pa­ble of suf­fer­ing and ex­pe­ri­enc­ing plea­sure, and must be reared and treated with this in mind. Why the gov­ern­ment should have de­cided to re­ject this hu­mane law is any­one’s guess. Shee­lagh Gra­ham Dum­bar­ton • The Blair gov­ern­ment’s choice not to in­voke tran­si­tional ar­range­ments when east­ern Europe joined the EU in 2004 was taken with no prior pub­lic dis­cus­sion. By con­trast, months of de­bate in Aus­tria, France, Ger­many and Italy led to the im­po­si­tion of seven-year controls – largely be­cause of pres­sure from trade unions and left­wing par­ties. Bri­tain’s de­ci­sion was greeted with as­ton­ish­ment in cen­tral Europe, and else­where. Dr John Do­herty Vi­enna, Aus­tria • While un­der­stand­ing the con­cerns of many who voted for Brexit with re­spect to the high level of im­mi­gra­tion into the UK and the ex­tra de­mands on pub­lic ser­vices that are made, would it not be pos­si­ble for the EU to com­pen­sate by fund­ing the build­ing of ex­tra hos­pi­tals, schools and nurs­eries? This would lead to peo­ple ap­pre­ci­at­ing im­mi­gra­tion as an as­set that re­sults in im­proved ser­vices and more job op­por­tu­ni­ties. An­thony Bleas­dale Ech­en­evex, France

How long must we wait for a Labour party that places as much value on gain­ing power as do the Tories? Sav­ille Kush­ner

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