Published: Mon, November 13, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

UK Parliament to vote on final Brexit deal before Britain leaves EU

UK Parliament to vote on final Brexit deal before Britain leaves EU

However, the Brexit secretary's announcement in the House of Commons in the last few minutes really matters.

Speaking in the Commons, Conservative former minister Owen Paterson asked: "If the House of Commons votes down the new withdrawal bill, will the outcome be we still leave on March 29 2019, but without an agreement?"

The Government has bolstered its commitment for Parliament to have the final say on a Brexit deal - but immediately faced a backlash for not guarding against the United Kingdom leaving the European Union without an agreement.

David Davis has agreed a separate bill to deal with the transition period, thwarting Labour and would-be Tory rebels before the EU Withdrawal Bill returns to the Commons. "This agreement will only hold if parliament approves it".

Ten Conservative MPs had signed an amendment insisting the promised "meaningful vote" had to take the form of standalone legislation, threatening the Government with possible defeat.

"As we move forward, we stand ready to work with MPs from across the House to ensure a smooth, and orderly exit from the European Union that is effectively scrutinised by Parliament".

Labour's shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer branded Mr Davis's actions "a significant climbdown from a weak Government on the verge of defeat".

"For months, Labour has been calling on ministers to guarantee parliament a final say on the withdrawal agreement".

"With less than 24 hours before they had to defend their flawed bill to Parliament they have finally backed down", he said.

But has Starmer once again mistook crumbs for bread?

Chuka Umunna and Chris Leslie derided Davis' concession as a ploy before tomorrow's debate.

Dominic Grieve, the Tory former attorney general who has tabled a series of amendments to the EU Withdrawal Bill, said the controversial clause nine in that Bill was now redundant. The timing is key here - but the government are unable to guarantee that it wouldn't be the day before Britain leaves as they can't say for sure when the negotiations will end.

"That's the mechanism that's provided and surely that's the mechanism which the House and the Government should be following?"

In a bid to keep both Brexiteers and Remainers on side, Davis ended his appearance at the despatch box by describing the vote as "a meaningful vote, but not one that can undo Brexit".

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