How did your MP vote? Brexit repeal bill reveals political divide in Cumbria
THE UK's first official step towards Brexit highlighted a north/south political divide in Cumbria as the EU repeal bill was voted through parliament.
The bill, also known as the EU Withdrawal Bill, overturns the 1972 EU Communities Act - legislation which took the UK into the EU.
It will eventually end the supremacy of EU laws within the UK by allowing Parliament the power to amend or change its own laws once the UK exits Europe.
The matter divided Cumbria's MPs with three voting in support of the bill and three against.
Carlisle's Conservative MP John Stevenson said yesterday's bill was straightforward and should not have attracted controversy.
"I think that the purpose of this bill is to carry out the wishes of the people of Carlisle and the UK who wish to leave the EU," he said.
"It is purely procedural. It just means that on the day we leave the EU all the laws at that time transfer into our own laws."
But Mr Stevenson, who voted remain in the UK's 2016 vote on Brexit, added he was disappointed the repeal bill had attracted little support from Labour MPs.
He said: "It's less controversial than it's been made out to be.
"I'm particularly disappointed that Labour has not supported it.
"The purpose of this is to give certainty over our laws from the start. They can be changed (after the UK leaves the EU), but changed at a proper pace and after sensible decisions have been made."
But debate on the matter in the Commons included challenge and dissent from a majority of Labour MPs before it was eventually passed on a vote of 326 in support and 290 against.
They argued amendments are needed to prevent ministers from being able to meddle with the laws without proper Parliamentary scrutiny - or the so called Henry VIII powers.
However, Mr Stephenson confirmed he would support an amendment to strengthen scrutiny of the bill at its next stage.
John Woodcock, Labour MP representing Barrow and Furness, labelled the bill an 'arrogant power grab' that could damage local jobs.
Mr Woodcock, who voted against the repeal bill, said: "The Government's mandate to take Britain out of the EU does not extend to this arrogant power grab to by-pass parliament and pursue a plan that could severely damage local jobs and living standards.
"Just look at the mess they've made of the opening negotiations.
"The idea that this set of bungling ministers can be trusted to exercise wartime-style authoritarian powers without screwing up is absurd."
Mr Woodcock continued: "It's disappointing and worrying that they're currently intent on railroading it through but after last night's second reading vote I will be focusing on improving the detail of the bill to try to force a return to common sense on issues like preserving nuclear jobs through membership of Euratom.
“It was only a few months ago that people in Barrow and Furness sent me back to parliament to fight for them.
"Voting for that Bill would have been a betrayal of the promises that I made to them in that election, handing a blank cheque to a government that is failing Furness and a Prime Minister who is rapidly losing the trust and confidence of the public.”
John Stevenson, Carlisle: For
John Woodcock, Barrow and Furness: Against
Tim Farron, Westmorland and Lonsdale: Against
Sue Hayman, Workington: Against
Trudi Harrison, Copeland: For
Rory Stewart, Penrith and the Border: For
The EU repeal bill means EU laws will be adopted as UK laws on the day the nation leaves the European Union.
These laws can be changed or deleted by MPs after this date.
Why is it important?
It represents one of the UK's first official steps away from EU control.
What's controversial about it?
It is alleged the bill would give the government too much power to change laws after Brexit.
Some MPs, from all political parties, argue an amendment - called Henry VIII powers - must be made to ensure changes can be scrutinised by MPs.