Par­lia­ment wins right to vote on fi­nal Brexit deal

The Southland Times - - WORLD -

BRI­TAIN: Bri­tain’s Par­lia­ment will be given a ‘‘take-it or leave-it’’ vote on Brexit af­ter min­is­ters agreed to en­shrine the deal in law, in a sig­nif­i­cant gov­ern­ment con­ces­sion.

David Davis, the Brexit Sec­re­tary, yes­ter­day an­nounced that MPs and peers will be given a bind­ing vote on the fi­nal deal with Brus­sels.

How­ever, the climb­down has prompted fears that pro-Euro­pean Union MPs will at­tempt to frus­trate Brexit with amend­ments in the hope of de­lay­ing or even post­pon­ing Bri­tain’s de­par­ture.

Davis warned yes­ter­day that Bri­tain will leave the EU with­out a deal in March 2019 if MPs vote down the gov­ern­ment’s fi­nal agree­ment with Brus­sels.

Davis’s con­ces­sion came less than 24 hours be­fore the House of Com­mons was due to be­gin de­bat­ing the next stage of the EU With­drawal Bill, which trans­fers thou­sands of Euro­pean laws and reg­u­la­tions on to the United King­dom’s statute books.

The gov­ern­ment is fac­ing a huge re­bel­lion over the pro­posed move, with more than 400 amend­ments tabled by MPs.

His in­ter­ven­tion was an at­tempt to avert the cri­sis, and comes af­ter the gov­ern­ment was forced ear­lier this year to get Par­lia­ment’s sup­port for in­vok­ing Ar­ti­cle 50 af­ter a le­gal chal­lenge.

Tory rebels said the vote was ‘‘point­less’’ be­cause it means Par­lia­ment can­not change the terms of the fi­nal deal.

Davis told the Com­mons the new law, which will cover ar­eas in­clud­ing cit­i­zens’ rights, the so­called di­vorce bill and a tran­si­tion pe­riod, would pro­vide ‘‘cer­tainty and clar­ity’’ as Bri­tain left the EU.

He was asked by Owen Pater­son, a Euroscep­tic Tory MP, if Bri­tain would leave ‘‘with­out an agree­ment’’ if MPs voted down the deal. He replied: ‘‘Yes.’’

He later added: ‘‘It’s a mean­ing­ful vote, but not mean­ing­ful in the sense that some be­lieve mean­ing­ful [to be], which is that you can re­verse the whole thing.’’

Davis said that while he was pre­pared to go back and talk to Brus­sels if the Com­mons tried to make changes to the deal, he was doubt­ful the timetable would al­low any changes at that stage.

He was backed by Euro­pean sources who warned that the deal would not be changed at the 11th hour. One source said: ‘‘If the UK Gov­ern­ment comes back at 11pm on March 29, 2019 say­ing the House of Com­mons has amended ‘x, y and z’, then we would need to go back to coun­cil and Par­lia­ment.

‘‘But it is ex­tremely dif­fi­cult to imag­ine mem­ber states will start this whole process again once it has been rat­i­fied, par­tic­u­larly given how chal­leng­ing the time is al­ready.’’

The move in­fu­ri­ated proEuro­pean Tories, who are pre­par­ing to rebel against gov­ern­ment plans to en­shrine the date that Bri­tain leaves the EU in law.

Heidi Allen, a Tory rebel, said the vote would be ‘‘point­less’’ if Bri­tain failed to se­cure a deal with Brus­sels un­til the 11th hour. ‘‘There’d be no time,’’ she said.

– Tele­graph Group

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