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Brexit: Alex Sobel Challenges Government on the Environment and Northern Ireland 

Theresa May might have pushed her timetable back until after Christmas but for Alex Sobel MP and many of his Parliamentary colleagues, the fallout from Brexit is keeping them busy right up until the stockings go up.

In a debate on the Brexit timetable, Mr Sobel raised the urgency of passing some environmental legislation to protect the environmental rules and regulations in the case of no deal.

He said, “There are only 103 days until 29 March, and the Government have only just published the draft Environment (Principles and Governance) Bill. In the event of our leaving the EU without a deal, we will have no method of protecting our environment—investigating and prosecuting environmental crimes—without this Bill going through Parliament, so when are we to expect its First Reading? How will sufficient time be made available to ensure this Bill is passed before 29 March?”

Andrea Leadsom, Leader of the House, did not commit to a timetable instead saying that it was “not right to say that there will be no means at all to protect our environment” and that they had “a 25-year environment plan for England that demonstrates our ambition to be the first generation to leave our environment in a better place than we found it.”

Mr Sobel recently confirmed his support for a new referendum or ‘people’s vote’ and took to the floor of the house to remind the Government that there is a greater mandate for protecting the Good Friday agreement, which won an emphatic referendum in 1998, is not mandated for in the current agreement and would be wiped out under a no-deal Brexit.

He said, “We have had two referendums on this, so this would be the third referendum in which people have been allowed a say about membership of the EU? We also had a referendum in Northern Ireland on the Good Friday agreement, which resulted in a 71% majority. Should not that referendum result be respected, which it is not in the Prime Minister’s withdrawal agreement?”


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