Plan re­vealed as MPs de­bate bill to ditch Brus­sels

Daily Express - - FRONT PAGE - By David Mad­dox Po­lit­i­cal Cor­re­spon­dent

LABOUR is se­cretly plot­ting to stop Brexit, it emerged last night.

A se­nior party fig­ure re­vealed he wants to en­sure Bri­tain re­mains a full EU mem­ber dur­ing a two-year “tran­si­tion pe­riod” af­ter the of­fi­cial de­par­ture date.

Labour then hopes to use the time to scheme to over­turn the his­toric ref­er­en­dum re­sult, it was claimed.

The party’s leader in the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment, Richard Cor­bett, let slip the se­cret plot as Labour said it will op­pose Gov­ern­ment plans to put the time and date of Brexit, 11pm on March 29, 2019, into law.

With MPs vot­ing last night on the con­tent of the EU With­drawal Bill, Mr Cor­bett called Tory plans for Brexit “fan­tasy land”.

He de­manded that full EU mem­ber­ship con­tinue dur­ing the tran­si­tion pe­riod, oth­er­wise he said the UK would have “no flex­i­bil­ity” in ne­go­ti­a­tions with the bloc.

Mr Cor­bett has pre­vi­ously ad­mit­ted that he

THE first in a string of bat­tles to pre­vent pro-Re­main MPs de­rail­ing Brexit leg­is­la­tion was won by the Gov­ern­ment last night.

In a crunch Com­mons vote MPs agreed to scrap the 45-year-old Act of Par­lia­ment which made Euro­pean Union law supreme in Bri­tain.

They voted by 318 to 68, a ma­jor­ity of 250, to re­peal the Euro­pean Com­mu­ni­ties Act that brought Bri­tain into the bloc on Jan­uary 1, 1973.

The re­sult came af­ter Brexit min­is­ter Steve Baker warned pro-Re­main MPs not to think they could keep Bri­tain in the EU by stealth through tin­ker­ing with cru­cial exit leg­is­la­tion.

An agree­ment to re­peal the Act was the first clause of the EU (With­drawal) Bill which aims to pro­vide an or­derly Brexit – re­gard­less of the out­come of talks with Brus­sels about a deal.

The Bill will trans­fer EU reg­u­la­tions into Bri­tish law on exit day.

This will en­sure le­gal con­ti­nu­ity for firms and peo­ple when Bri­tain leaves, al­low­ing Par­lia­ment to de­cide at its own pace which leg­is­la­tion to keep, amend or scrap. Yes­ter­day the Com­mons held the first of eight days of in­tense de­bate on the de­tail of the Bill. MPs have tabled hun­dreds of amend­ments and it will have to go to the Lords for con­sid­er­a­tion later.

Mr Baker told MPs that scrap­ping the 1972 Act “could scarcely be more sig­nif­i­cant”.

He said: “It is a his­toric step in de­liv­er­ing our exit from the EU in ac­cor­dance with the ref­er­en­dum.

“If we were not to re­peal the Act, we would still exit the EU but there would be con­fu­sion and un­cer­tainty on our own statute book.

“It would be un­clear if UK or EU law took prece­dence. The sta­tus of new EU law would also be un­clear.”

Re­peal­ing the Act would end “one of the widest-rang­ing pow­ers ever placed on the statute book and make it clear and unar­guable that sovereignty lies here in this Par­lia­ment”.

Pro-Brexit for­mer min­is­ter John Red­wood told the House: “This sim­ple, cru­cial clause is the way in which our democ­racy is re­stored. Any mat­ter that wor­ries the Bri­tish peo­ple can prop­erly be the sub­ject of Par­lia­men­tary de­bate and de­ci­sion.

“This Par­lia­ment once again can hear the wishes of the Bri­tish peo­ple and can change things – our VAT, our fish­ing pol­icy, our agri­cul­tural pol­icy, our bor­ders pol­icy, our wel­fare pol­icy – in the ways that we wish.”

Se­nior Labour MP Yvette Cooper called for sep­a­rate leg­is­la­tion to ap­prove any fi­nal deal.

But Mr Baker warned there was the po­ten­tial for “le­gal chaos”, adding: “As a re­spon­si­ble Gov­ern­ment we must be ready to exit with­out a deal even though we ex­pect to con­clude a deep and special part­ner­ship.”

He urged MPs when they get the chance, prob­a­bly next month, to back a Gov­ern­ment amend­ment to the Bill spec­i­fy­ing 11pm on March 29, 2019, as the point Bri­tain leaves the EU.

Labour and some Tories say putting a date in law is too re­stric­tive and would stop Bri­tain be­ing able to ex­tend talks if nec­es­sary.

Pro-Euro­pean Tory Ken Clarke told the Com­mons PM Theresa May was try­ing to ap­pease pro-Brexit min­is­ters. He said the move was “ridicu­lous, un­nec­es­sary and could be pos­i­tively harm­ful to the na­tional in­ter­est”.

He iron­i­cally hailed for­mer Ukip leader Nigel Farage as a suc­cess for per­suad­ing peo­ple to be­lieve “myths” about EU red tape and bad laws.

Shadow Brexit Sec­re­tary Sir Keir Starmer said writ­ing Brexit day into law was a “des­per­ate gim­mick” by Mrs May to keep her Euroscep­tics in line.

Mean­while, many Tories were fum­ing af­ter a “stormy” meet­ing on Mon­day with new Chief Whip Ju­lian Smith, at which they say he im­plied peo­ple try­ing to amend the EU (With­drawal) Bill were try­ing to stop Brexit.

Steve Baker hailed ‘his­toric step' vote

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.