United Kingdom government warns of Brexit chaos if lawmakers don't back bill

Frederick Owens
September 13, 2017

Labour mostly voted against the bill although there were seven MPs who defied the leader Jeremy Corbyn's order to oppose it.

Sir Keir Starmer, the shadow Brexit secretary said: "Labour will seek to amend and remove the worst aspects from the Bill as it passes through Parliament".

Liberal Democrat Brexit spokesperson Tom Brake called it "a dark day for the mother of Parliaments".

MEPs are set to vote on a motion early next month about whether there has been enough progress, Verhofstadt said, adding: "at the moment, everyone can see that isn't the case".

Ministers supporting Britain's exit from European Union says Brexit will descend into chaos if the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill created to lay the legislative groundwork for the country's EU exit is not approved by the lawmakers.

The bill, which will not come into force until the United Kingdom has actually left the European Union, is meant to smooth the way for Brexit by incorporating much of European Union law directly into United Kingdom domestic law, to be repealed as and when parliament may choose in the future.

Within hours of the late night vote, Labour submitted a raft of amendments seeking to curtail the Henry VIII powers, return responsibilities to the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and protect workers' rights, environmental safeguards and equality laws.

Keir Starmer, shadow secretary of state for exiting the European Union, said: "This Bill is an affront to parliamentary democracy and a naked power grab by Government Ministers".

She faces a daunting battle to get the complex measure onto the statute book as 157 amendments to the Bill covering 59 pages were tabled by MPs of all parties - including Tory Europhiles.

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The European Union (Withdrawal) Bill aims to convert around 12,000 EU laws and regulations into United Kingdom domestic laws on the day Britain leaves the bloc in March 2019.

Before the vote, David Davis, the UK's secretary of state for exiting the European Union, emphasized that the bill offers businesses and individuals "reassurance that there will be no unexpected changes to our laws after exit day" while avoiding "a cliff edge of uncertainty".

Speaking at the close of the debate, he said: "We think that the 64 hours that has been guaranteed is reasonable and it compares with 39 hours and 17 minutes the Blair government granted for the Bill to ratify the Lisbon treaty".

Labour, which denounced the "vague offers" of concessions, mostly voted against the bill.

She said: "I believe Labour's job is to improve this bill not kill it as it begins its passage through Parliament".

Summing up the debate, Justice Secretary David Lidington said some of the criticism had been "exaggerated up to and beyond the point of hyperbole".

The EU repeal bill means EU laws will be adopted as United Kingdom laws on the day the nation leaves the European Union.

"The Prime Minister has said she is going to listen to the concerns of her colleagues".

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