Brexit Update: Refugees and Amendment 7

There was big furore last week following the vote on amendment 7, put down my colleague, Dominic Grieve, where the Government lost by four votes. I have lots of people asking whether this means Brexit will now no longer happen. This is not the case. In the grand scheme of things, this amendment changes very little; the amendment puts into the Bill a guarantee of a meaningful vote, however this was already promised by the Government. 

At the end of the day, this is not going to change the final result, which is that the UK will be leaving the EU in March 2019. What's really important on this divisive issue is that we come up with a deal we can all rally round and have a strong relationship with the EU. We need a strong relationship with our EU partners in order to ensure we have good trading links after Brexit. 

I put down an amendment of my own which the Government said they would support not in the EU (Withdrawal) Bill but instead in the upcoming Immigration Bill. The amendment is about the future of child asylum seekers. At the moment, as members of the EU, we are signed up to Dublin III, this means that if there is a child refugee with family, which if broadly defined and includes siblings, aunties and uncles, as well as parents, whereas the existing UK law only permits child asylum seekers to come to the UK if they have parents here. My amendment would extend the definition of family under the EU law in UK. 

It is important we continue Dublin III because a lot of child asylum seekers may well have lost their parents and are alone and only have family in the UK. I think this is the right and humane action to take. You can see my contribution to the debate in the Commons on Hansard here: https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2017-12-12/debates/02642351-76CA-4700-BE34-28D22EB175B4/EuropeanUnion(Withdrawal)Bill#contribution-3D5F9DC8-2AA4-4727-A300-502FB23DD019

The Brexit negotiations were always going to be complicated, however now the at the Prime Minister has secured the first stage of the talks I think it is now becoming clear to everyone that Brexit is happening, it is deliverable, and let us just get on with it.