May facing rebellion over key Brexit bill

May facing rebellion over key Brexit bill

"As now drafted what the amendment says is that we shouldn't put any of those statutory instruments into place until the Withdrawal Agreement and Implementation Bill has reached the statute book", May said.

"The Prime Minister says she wants a meaningful vote on Brexit before we leave the EU".

Several rebel MPs from Mrs May's Tory party helped push through the amendment, helped by all opposition parties.

Labour is set to back Mr Grieve and urged would-be rebels not to be bought off by "warm words and woolly concessions". "We remain vigilant", he said.

The EU executive recommended last week that the leaders approve trade talks.

Hours before the vote, Brexit Secretary David Davis promised MPs that no withdrawal agreement would be implemented until a vote in parliament.

He said his amendment would not stop Brexit but the vote provoked a furious backlash from Leavers.

Members of Parliament are debating the EU withdrawal bill, which will repeal the 1972 legislation binding Britain to the EU and copy existing EU law into domestic law to ensure legal continuity after "Exit Day" on March 29, 2019.

The amendment, proposed by former attorney general Dominic Grieve, prevents the government from implementing any withdrawal deal with the European Union without the backing of MPs through a new Act of parliament.

May facing rebellion over key Brexit bill
May facing rebellion over key Brexit bill

The statute sought by Mr Grieve would undergo full parliamentary scrutiny - meaning it could be rewritten by MPs, potentially leaving the Government vulnerable to further revolts over elements of the withdrawal deal.

Should Parliament vote against the government on any final deal, the Prime Minister could be forced to renegotiate with Brussels - raising the prospect of the United Kingdom crashing out of the bloc without a trade deal and instead being governed by the rules of the World Trade Organization, a course of action sometimes referred to as a "Hard Brexit".

But MPs objected to the fact that these so-called "Henry VIII" powers also extend to the implementation of the final deal on the terms of Brexit and a transition.

"That could be at a very late stage in the proceedings, which could mean that we are not able to have the orderly and smooth exit from the European Union that we wish to have".

Legally it is crucial - because the law must be ready for Brexit day, to provide certainty.

After months of wrangling, May secured a deal last week on 3 priorities of the separation - Britain's financial settlement, the Irish border and the rights of expatriates.

Ahead of Wednesday's vote, Grieve warned that ministers were asking for "a blank cheque to the government to achieve something that, at the moment, we don't know what it is".

"I hope the Government will move, irrespective of whether or not they think they are heading for a defeat", he told Sky News.

Nigel Farage, a long-time member of the European Parliament and a key driving force behind the Brexit campaign, said: "My contempt for career politicians knows no bounds".

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