THIS week at Westminster was one of those Parliamentary occasions that will enter the history books. It saw the normal schedules cleared for a Brexit Bill to give the Prime Minister legal power to trigger Article 50 negotiations, to take Britain out of the EU.
Only the previous week, the Government was claiming it had the right to trigger Article 50 without consulting elected members – so much for Brexit ‘returning’ power to MPs. But wise intervention by the Supreme Court forced the Conservative administration to bow to Parliamentary approval.
Sadly, no lessons seem to have been learned. For MPs returned on Monday to be faced with a pathetic one-line Brexit Bill.
The formal reason offered for this insult to democracy is the Tory contention that any delay will make it difficult for Mrs May to trigger Article 50 by the end of March.
But that is her timetable, not Parliament’s. There is no reason whatsoever why MPs should not have proper time to discuss this, the most important piece of legislation in the last 30 years. Which is why I am opposing the Bill and supporting amendments to force Number 10 to take consideration of the fact Scotland voted against Brexit.
Then the PM had no sooner had her picture taken holding hands with Donald Trump than the new President used Holocaust Memorial Day to ban Muslims from seven countries from entering the US. This move is deeply racist, alienates the Muslim community worldwide and makes life more dangerous for us all.
A rare emergency debate was held at Westminster on Monday in which MPs from all parties condemned the ban and criticised the advisability inviting Mr Trump to the UK. Rarely have I heard such an impassioned debate in the House.
I’m glad to say President Trump has not gone down well in East Lothian either. I was deeply heartened that literally thousands of East Lothian voters signed the Parliamentary petition to ask that Mr Trump is not afforded the trappings of a state visit. It’s at petition.parliament.uk/petitions/171928