It`s from the BBC`s political correspondent, Iain Watson. He says up to 30 Labour MPs abstained from voting on the Brexit bill this afternoon or did not abstain. Trade agreements may not always be news that makes headlines, but they are far from being an arid subject on tariffs and taxes. They are now having a profound impact on our efforts to address the climate crisis, as well as on our food standards, workers` rights and vital neatonic public services. Our future relations with the EU should be able to be examined and approved by this Parliament. We should be able to avoid setting a dangerous precedent that denies Members not only control this agreement, but also future post-Brexit trade agreements, such as the one to be concluded with the United States. It is significant that, as we heard yesterday, the Prime Minister`s old EU withdrawal agreement contained urgent provisions for parliamentary oversight. They have been described in section 31. They gave MPs control over negotiating objectives and a vote on the final agreement and demanded regular reports during the negotiations. This clause is distinguished by its absence from the new bill. I would like to say a few more words about the withdrawal agreement which I fear should be adopted in the afternoon and I would like to summarize some of the reasons why I will vote against it.
There is still this hatch to no agreement at the end of this year, and despite everything that has been said by the Government`s FrontBench, I do not understand why they remain so stubborn with this 11-month period – a totally arbitrary period – and say that this is the period in which they want to conclude a new trade agreement. Just yesterday, the President of the Commission said that this would not lead to a deep agreement that the Prime Minister seems to want, so it is very difficult to see how it is really in the best interests of the country. The government may have won its hard Brexit, but they have definitely lost Scotland. Nothing could sum up Scotland`s distance from the rest of the United Kingdom more than the passage of this law. This bill symbolizes the difference between Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom. I sometimes think that this House forgets Scotland`s relationship with this Brexit disaster and chaos, so I would like to gently remind The ConservativeS of what happened. A Scottish MP was elected with a mandate for the EU referendum and a Scottish MP voted in favour of the bill which allowed a referendum to be held. When Scotland had to vote in an EU referendum that had nothing to do with it, we voted 62% to stay.