Why I Abstained on the vote to progress to Phase 2

I respect the choice of many of my colleagues who voted in favour of the European Parliaments December 2018 Brexit resolution, as so many people, organisations and businesses are anxious for the negotiations to move on to phase 2. It is true that some progress has been made, particularly with regard to the divorce bill and the issue of  the Irish border (although the issue of Gibraltar is worryingly not mentioned)However, I chose to abstain in the European Parliaments resolution as a personal considered action in order to represent all of those EU citizens in the UK and UK citizens in the EU who I hear from on a daily basis, asking me to protect their rights, calling on me and others to intervene on their behalf to end the shameful use of their lives as bargaining chipsAs a child rights’ campaigner I am especially concerned that the December EU-UK agreement does not recognise the particular risks faced by vulnerable children, eg. foster children. As we have seen in the UK Parliament on December 13, where across party lines Members came together to put their country above their party in order to guarantee a meaningful vote at the end of the process, there is a growing level of dissatisfaction with the state of the negotiations.