NEW PLOT TO DERAIL BREXIT
Plan revealed as MPs debate bill to ditch Brussels
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