On January 16th, Policy Connect hosted a discussion in Parliament on the Brexit process, held between the Rt Hon Hilary Benn MP, Chair of the Select Committee on Exiting the European Union, and Tim Shipman, Political Editor at the Sunday Times.
Hilary served as Secretary of State in the Department for International Development (DfID) and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA); in opposition as Shadow Secretary of State for Local Government and more recently Shadow Foreign Secretary. He left the front bench last year and on the 19th October he was elected by his fellow MPs to become the Chair of the new Exiting the European Union Select Committee.
Tim Shipman has been a national newspaper journalist for seventeen years and has more than a decade of experience reporting on British and American politics and international relations. Currently the Political Editor of the Sunday Times, Tim was previously the Deputy Political Editor of the Daily Mail, Washington Correspondent for the Sunday Telegraph and held several posts, both Political and Foreign, at the Daily and Sunday Express.
The room was packed full with people eager to hear about the next steps in the Brexit agenda, including several representatives from major political parties and both Houses of Parliament. Hilary brought us up to speed on all things Brexit – from the triggering of Article 50 to post-Brexit trade tariffs, and exactly how these changes in regulation will be vetted by the Select Committee and passed through Parliament.
Hilary stated that Parliamentary sovereignty should be respected with a final vote on triggering Article 50, but noted the potential for “a crisis in parliamentary confidence” if Government went back on the result of the referendum.
"Imagine the crisis in Parliamentary confidence if government decided to ignore the Brexit vote"
Looking to the UK’s future post-Brexit, Hilary emphasised the need for international co-operation, saying:
“We have to continue to be an outward-looking country post-Brexit…we have to cooperate above the nation state to tackle issues like climate change & terrorism”