REMAINERS UNITE AGAINST BREXIT.
Let voters decide on May’s deal, MPs suggest
LONDON • Pro-EU MPs will Monday raise the stakes in the battle over Brexit by publishing draft legislation to force a second referendum that could reverse the result of the 2016 vote.
A cross-party group of MPs, including Dominic Grieve, the former Conservative attorney general, wants Theresa May to give Parliament a greater say in deciding how Britain leaves the European Union.
It comes after reports emerged on the weekend of a planned “coup” by unnamed senior MPs to grab control of the parliamentary timetable by allowing backbenchers’ legislation to take precedence over the government’s.
MPs are to vote on the PM’s deal Monday, with 10 Downing Street braced for a defeat by an unprecedented majority of more than 200. The cross-party draft legislation published by Grieve, the Liberal Democrat leader Sir Vince Cable and Lord Lisvane, the former clerk of the House of Commons, proposes another referendum in which voters would be given a choice between May’s deal or staying in the EU.
The draft law could in theory be tabled as early as Monday next week, if May loses Tuesday and she has to come back to the Commons with a new plan for delivering Brexit. It will require the Speaker, John Bercow, to suspend centuries-old rules and make it easier for MPs to table laws that can be passed.
Grieve, who insists he is not working with Bercow to overturn Brexit, said last night: “This bill provides a legally credible way forward, and a politically credible way forward. With no majority in Parliament for the deal, or for ‘no deal’, the legislation provides the government with an escape hatch.”
The MPs would also have to table a new law to remove the March 29 Brexit date from existing legislation.
Bercow has been heavily criticized by MPs for his handling of last week’s Brexit debate, where he was accused of ignoring parliamentary convention to frustrate the government’s attempts to take Britain out of the EU.
However, Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader, insisted Sunday that Bercow had been “religiously fair.”
Writing in Monday’s Daily Telegraph, Nikki da Costa, May’s former head of legislative affairs, says the putative “coup” was “dressed up as handing control to backbenchers, but in reality it’s handing control to Labour and the opposition parties plus a small group of rebel Conservatives.”