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London - 24 January 2017
1. SOUNDBITE: (English) Sir Keir Starmer, Shadow Brexit secretary:
"Thank you Mr. Speaker and can I thank the Secretary of State (for Brexit David Davis) for early sight of his statement. This is a good day for parliamentary sovereignty. The Supreme Court has ruled that we shall have a say in this house on the Article 50 issue. Given the issues involved that is quite right and the Prime Minister was wrong to attempt to sideline parliament in this process. This bill is only to be introduced because the Prime Minister has been ordered to do so. Now I hope that in the aftermath there won't be the attacks on our judges that there were when the High Court gave its ruling. And it's the duty of all of us to defend them if they do and to do so quickly and I hope the Secretary of State will join me in that endeavour. The question now moves on to the proper role of parliament and the Supreme Court said nothing about the particular form of legislation, but on issues as important as this it would be wrong for the government to try to minimise the role of parliament or to seek to avoid amendments, and I ask the Secretary of State to confirm that he won't take that approach."
2. SOUNDBITE: (English) Sir Keir Starmer, Shadow Brexit secretary:
"This is a question of substance not process. Last week the Prime Minister committed herself to swapping the known benefits of single market membership and the customs union for the hoped for benefits of a free trade agreement with a fallback position of breaking our economic model. That is high risk and there are big gaps, inconsistencies and unanswered questions in the Prime Minister's approach. Mr Speaker if the Prime Minister fails in her endeavour the cost will be born by families, working people and communities throughout the UK. The stakes are high and the role of this house in holding the Prime Minister and the government to account throughout the process is crucial."
3. SOUNDBITE: (English) Sir Keir Starmer, Shadow Brexit secretary:
"Labour accepts and respects the referendum result and will not frustrate the process. But we will be seeking to lay amendments to a proper scrutiny and accountability throughout the process. That starts, Mr Speaker, with a White Paper or plan. A speech is not a White Paper or plan and we need something to hold the government to account throughout the process. You can't have a speech, you can't have a speech as the only basis for accountability for two years or more. That's the first step. Then there needs to be a reporting back procedure and there needs to be a meaningful vote at the end of the exercise. The government should welcome such scrutiny not try to resist it because the end result will be better if scrutinised than it would otherwise be. I hope the Secretary of State will confirm that we will not seek to minimize scrutiny and accountability. I'll leave others to say about the devolved administrations. I think whatever the court ruled it's important that those interests are taken properly into account. I end with this, Mr Speaker: What a waste of time and money."
Shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer told parliament that the government needs to produce a formal White Paper to set out a roadmap for exiting the European Union.
Starmer said the government couldn't rely on Prime Minister Theresa May's speech last week as the "only basis for accountability for two years or more".
The Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that Britain's government must get parliamentary approval before starting the process of leaving the European Union, potentially delaying Prime Minister Theresa May's plans to trigger exit negotiations by the end of March.
The 8-3 ruling from the judges forces the government to put a bill before Parliament, giving pro-EU politicians a chance to soften the terms of Brexit - Britain's exit from the EU. "Leave" campaigners had objected, saying Parliament shouldn't have the power to overrule the electorate, which voted to leave the bloc in a June 23 referendum.
The Supreme Court's decision doesn't mean that Britain will remain in the EU - but it could delay the process.
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