Move to give MPs final vote on Brexit deal
13 Nov 2017, 23:00 ( 11 Months ago)
In a surprise move on Monday, Brexit Secretary David Davis announced a new parliamentary bill that will give Members of Parliament (MPs) and House of Lords peers a vote on Britain's final deal with Brussels when the country leaves the European Union (EU).
The move, announced by Davis in the House of Commons, was seen as a major concession on the eve of a major debate on Britain's main withdrawal bill.
A number of Conservative MPs have threatened to side with the main opposition Labour Party by voting against Prime Minister Theresa May's government in this week's debate.
Media in London said politicians on both sides of the house attacked Davis' plan, saying they were angered it did not give parliament any say in the event that no deal is reached.
Labour Party member Chris Leslie called the plan by Davis a "sham", describing it as an "eleventh hour" act to save the government from losing votes in the House of Commons.
Labour's shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer, slammed Davis' move as a significant climbdown from a weak government on the verge of defeat.
He said: "For months, Labour has been calling on ministers to guarantee Parliament a final say on the withdrawal agreement. With less than 24 hours before they had to defend their flawed (Brexit) bill to Parliament, they have finally backed down."
The debate, starting Tuesday, is aimed at ensuring EU law is enshrined into British law when Britain leaves the bloc in March, 2019.
Davis told the Commons that the government's new withdrawal agreement and implementation bill would give legal standing to Britain's separation from the EU, meanwhile warning MPs that if they reject the legislation, Britain would leave the EU without a deal.
The new bill is expected to cover the contents of the withdrawal agreement, including issues such as an agreement on citizens' rights, any financial settlement and the details of an implementation period agreed between both sides.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister May chaired a roundtable meeting Monday with leaders of Europe's key business organizations at 10 Downing Street.
Later, May's spokesperson said: "The prime minister reassured the group that Brexit meant the UK was leaving the EU, not Europe, and reiterated her ambition for free and frictionless trade with the EU27 once the UK departs. She also expressed her commitment to giving businesses the certainty they need by agreeing a time-limited implementation period as soon as possible."