At this time we do not know for certain which amendments will be selected to debate, but, consistent with my long-held position, I will be supporting any amendment that helps keep us in the European Union, or as close an arrangement to as possible.
It is almost 1 year ago that I decided to resign from my front bench position to vote for our continued membership of the single market, and I have been consistent with my stance in votes following. As we go into the next few days, my constituents can be assured that I will continue to stand up for Cambridge and vote for what I believe is in the best interests of this country.
My view is quite a simple one, remaining a member of the EEA will keep us in the single market, which is vital for research-intensive areas like Cambridge. It would allow researcher mobility for our universities and research institutions, as well as for healthcare workers and carers. I recently wrote an article on achieving continued membership of the EEA in the New European, which you can read here:
Further to this it would automatically deem us “data adequate” by the EU, which would allow data flows to continue freely. Continued membership of the EEA means retaining our membership of many European bodies which keep our work at the cutting edge of international progress. This would include Euratom, the European Medicines Agency, Erasmus+ and Horizon 2020. This would also mean that our world leading video game companies can continue working across Europe and beyond.
I have consistently voted to retain our membership of the Customs Union in Parliament. I am clear that staying in the Customs Union is the best way to prevent a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, and to protect our trade of goods with the European Union.
The work of the Constitution Unit and Professor Catherine Barnard at the University of Cambridge, who have both run detailed discussions and Citizens’ Juries to examine in depth the views of a cross-section of the electorate, has shown that the real question of where we go to next remains unanswered. This is why I think it is perfectly reasonable to give people a further choice. I voted for amendment 120 to the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill at the end of last year which would have given the public a vote on the final deal, and an option to remain.
I voted against the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill at its Second Reading, and I have spoken in favour of a large number of amendments throughout the process to strengthen democratic oversight, crucial rights and protections such as those on the environment, and equality law.