Anneliese Dodds MEP

The South East's Voice in Europe

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Anneliese was elected as the Member of Parliament for Oxford East on the 8th June. She will stand down as a Member of the European Parliament to take up her role in the UK Parliament. As soon as her successor is in place, we will link to their website to ensure that the South East region continues to be fully represented by Labour in Europe.

Anneliese would like to thank her constituents for their support since she was first elected as a MEP, and for the many kind messages since she decided to stand in Oxford East and for the many congratulations she has received since the result. 

Anneliese elected as MP for Oxford East

The proposed takeover of Punch Taverns by Heineken is due to be investigated by the UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) following a letter that I sent calling for a thorough investigation.

Last month I sent a letter to both the European Commission and the CMA to call for proper scrutiny of the deal after several constituents raised it with me. Both institutions replied saying that the CMA would be analysing the proposed takeover to make sure that it does not reduce choice and competition for consumers.

I will continue to scrutinise this deal closely and you can read the full letter from the CMA here.

Competition Authorities to Investigate Punch Taverns Takeover

The proposed takeover of Punch Taverns by Heineken is due to be investigated by the UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) following a letter that I sent calling for a...

 

 

Yesterday, MEPs spent three hours debating Brexit and then voted on a resolution which set out the Parliament’s overall principles for the negotiations between the EU and the UK. 

For the most part, the tone was one of sadness, regret, and also realism.  There was disappointment that for the first time ever a country has chosen to leave the EU, and a focus on preserving the unity of remaining 27 countries in the EU.  But there was also, encouragingly, a real understanding from MEPs across the rest of Europe that what matters most in these negotiations is people.  It is the citizens of the UK, and the citizens of the rest of Europe, who will be affected by the final deal that is agreed. 

That means people from elsewhere in Europe who have chosen to start businesses, start families and make a life for themselves in the UK, and who now face excruciating uncertainty about their future.  It means those from Britain who have chosen to do the same in reverse, and are now equally worried.  It means those people living on either side of the Irish border and wondering whether they are about to experience a return to the dark days of the past.

And it means the millions of people who live in my constituency, in the South East, whose lives are affected by our EU membership in a thousand different ways on a daily basis - and who will be impacted in one way or another by the final deal.  A good deal at the end of all of this will mean that their jobs can remain secure, their rights within those jobs safe and protected, the air they breathe still clean and the products they buy still of a high quality and reasonably priced.  A bad deal means all of those things are at risk. It was a relief to hear many other MEPs speaking about the need to put British, and European, citizens’ rights first.

Sadly, the same cannot be said of other South East MEPs.  Nigel Farage used his time in the debate to offend as many Europeans as possible, referring to them as the “mafia” and suggesting that the UK was somehow being held “hostage” by the EU.  Janice Atkinson, who is too extreme even for UKIP and has decided to throw her lot in with Marine Le Pen’s fascist party, made a speech even more offensive and less coherent.

This behaviour is phenomenally irresponsible given the stakes of the negotiations ahead.

We are about to sit down with 27 other sovereign nations and try to negotiate a deal that serves the interests of the British people.  It will be incredibly complex.  It will be hard work.  And it will have to involve compromises on all sides, and a lot of goodwill.  How much goodwill did Farage and Atkinson throw away yesterday, in five minutes of crass opportunism?  How much harder did they just make it for us to reach a deal that delivers for the people of the South East?

We need to be building bridges right now, if we are to stand any chance of getting a good deal.  Nigel Farage and Janice Atkinson seem to want to burn them. They should be thinking of their constituents instead.

Extremist MEPs don’t speak for the South East on Brexit

    Yesterday, MEPs spent three hours debating Brexit and then voted on a resolution which set out the Parliament’s overall principles for the negotiations between the EU and the...

 

Tourism is big business in the UK. We are the eighth largest international tourism destination in the world, with tourism providing one-eleventh of the UK’s GDP, and many tourist attractions are peppered throughout England’s cities, towns and villages. This is true especially true of the South East of England. One of the great pleasures of being a Labour representative for the South East of England in the European Parliament is having the ability to travel the length and breadth of a region with a rich cultural, historical and literary heritage.

The majority of in-bound holidaymakers to England – 63%- are from member states of the European Union. Outside of the USA, tourists most likely to visit England hailed from Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Ireland, the Netherlands and Sweden.

Statistics from the Tourism Alliance reveal that outside of London, more money is spent on day trips to the South East of England than any other region in Britain, and overall, excluding London, more money comes into the South East of England from tourism than any other region in England.

Tourism provides huge numbers of jobs. Outside of London, more employment from tourism happens in the South East of England than any other region in Britain, creating over 225,000 jobs, not including those connected with holiday travel.

However, with the invocation of Article 50 on Wednesday of this week, it is important to ensure that the reputation of England as a tourist destination is not threatened by Brexit.

Following Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, the value of the pound crashed.
This was expected by many to lead to a huge boost in Britain’s tourism figures, with European tourists being able to get more pounds for their Euros. However, this did not happen, and whilst statistics suggest that there was a 3% boost in English tourism, this was as previously predicted by ONS growth estimates.

We must also make sure that popular modes of transport for holidaymakers stay accessible.  It is perhaps not a coincidence that the South East of England’s high tourism figures can in part be attributed to the easy transport links offered by the UK’s biggest airports, Heathrow and Gatwick. Following the recent warnings to UK-based airlines by EU officials that they may have to relocate their headquarters to an EU member state, or face selling shares of their company to EU nationals in order to stop routes around continental Europe after Brexit, this is all the more pertinent. Last year, over 75.7 million passengers passed through Heathrow, with 51% of those passengers arriving in the UK.

We must also ensure continued traffic on ferry routes between Dover and Calais, and Portsmouth, St Malo and Cherbourg- especially given worrying signs that France may alter its approach to immigration controls following the Brexit vote. And we need to avoid any additional bureaucracy being imposed for cruise travellers, with Southampton constituting Europe’s leading turnaround cruise port.

This English Tourism Week, we must do all we can to ensure we keep these gateways to the South East open, and our local tourist industry thriving.

English Tourism Week

  Tourism is big business in the UK. We are the eighth largest international tourism destination in the world, with tourism providing one-eleventh of the UK’s GDP, and many tourist...

After the drama of Article 50, the detail of the Great Repeal Bill.  Just 24 hours after our ambassador had handed over the letter stating that the UK will be leaving the EU, the government published a white paper setting out how that will work in practice.

The paper does provide some answers and a little more clarity.  We know now, for instance, that the European Communities Act of 1972 - the legislation that took us into the EU - will be repealed on the day we leave.  And ahead of that date, the entire existing body of EU law will be transposed into domestic rules, so that there should be as much continuity as possible.  On the day after Brexit, we should continue abiding by the same laws as on the day before.  Future UK governments can then decide which of those laws they want to keep, which they want to amend and which they want to get rid of altogether.

There are clarifications in a few other areas too.  The white paper makes clear that the UK has no intention of withdrawing from the (non-EU) European Convention on Human Rights.  British citizens will be able to rely in court on rights which they acquired during the UK’s membership of the EU - those rights will not be taken away from them.  There is a general commitment to maintain workers’ rights stemming from the EU - something Labour and the trade union movement have repeatedly called for.

Such clarifications and assurances are welcome.  Much more worrying are the significant areas in which the white paper is vague or ambiguous - and these could have major implications if the government is not properly held to account.

While the headline message may be that all existing EU law will be transposed into domestic law, the small print contains some pretty hefty caveats.  Firstly, the transfer will only happen where the government considers it to be “practical and sensible”.  And secondly, during the process of transposing the law the government might need to “correct or remove the laws that would otherwise not function properly”.  Later in the paper the government points out that the vast majority of laws would fall into this category.

That’s a pretty spectacular exception.  We’ve gone from a blanket transfer of all existing EU laws, to a situation where we’ll only transfer those which are deemed (and then just on the government’s say so) to be practical and sensible - and we’ll change most of them while we’re at it.

Added to that is the fact that the government will make those changes (or “corrections”, as they would have it) through what’s known as secondary legislation.  Such legislation is supposed to be far more technical and much less political than full-blown primary legislation.  Accordingly, it is subject to much less parliamentary scrutiny.  Some of it might need to be voted on, but some of it can just pass automatically unless MPs and peers actively object.

This is a worrying combination.  The most important and difficult administrative challenge a government has undertaken in peacetime - the transfer of some 12,000 European regulations into domestic law - will be done based on a subjective assessment of what is “practical and sensible”, and what might need to be “corrected” along the way, with minimal oversight from our elected politicians. 

If we are to stand any chance of getting a good deal post-Brexit, with minimal disruption and maximum certainty for our businesses and citizens, then we absolutely have to get this right.  That can only happen if the government is properly held to account.  As the Great Repeal Bill starts to make its way through Parliament, we need to make sure that the ambiguities in the white paper are properly clarified, and that a rigorous level of parliamentary oversight and scrutiny is introduced. 

Brexit will affect all of us.  It is essential that it is not delivered by a small group of Tory ministers acting based on their own definition of what’s best for the country, with no one looking at what they’re doing.

The Great Repeal Bill: more questions than answers?

After the drama of Article 50, the detail of the Great Repeal Bill.  Just 24 hours after our ambassador had handed over the letter stating that the UK will be...


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