Government sabotaging its own Brexit negotiations with new law, MPs warn

Frederick Owens
November 18, 2017

Writing the Brexit date into law could cause "significant difficulties" in the negotiations, a powerful committee of MPs warns today.

Former ministers and rising stars unite to say the newspaper is "misleading" readers, defending their votes on the Brexit Bill.

The report claimed: "This would create significant difficulties if, as the Secretary of State suggested to us in evidence, the negotiations went down to the 59th minute of the 11th hour".

Mr Benn said Britain needed to maintain a certain level of "flexibility" to ensure the United Kingdom could extend negotiations past the estimated two-years transitional deal with the EU.

The Government laid an amendment late last week that seeks to put the date of Brexit on the face of the bill.

"The government should drop this idiotic departure date amendment". It is a stupid political gimmick that the government are hoping we get obsessed about instead of securing a truly meaningful vote at the end of this process.

"Theresa May should stop pandering to the extreme Brexiteers in her party".

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The Prime Minister's spokesperson insisted today that ministers would "listen to Parliament" over fixing the date in law, but that the amendment would go ahead as planned next week. "For once, she should put the national interests above her own party interests".

Ms Soubry asked Commons speaker John Bercow to make it clear that everybody has "a duty to report responsibly, to use language that actually brings our country together and makes sure we have a democracy that welcomes free speech".

'Although we support the premise of this Bill in providing for a functioning statute book in the United Kingdom once we leave the European Union, these ambiguities risk undermining the Bill's ability to supply legal certainty, a fundamental feature of the rule of law'.

Speaking to Sky News, he said: "Retaining flexibility of this process is an extremely wise thing to do given that we do want to try and get a good deal for the United Kingdom".

Downing Street refused to spell out the effect in law of including the amendment or not, given the two year timetable already spelt out in the European Union treaties. Key to doing that is certainty.

"We are pleased Conservative colleagues from across the Brexit divide accept our intentions are genuine and note that some are disappointed you didn't include them in our number", it said in the letter, which was signed by all 15 MPs.

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