Government makes surprise 'climbdown' on Brexit scrutiny

Posted in Google Brexit News
at 2016.10.11
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Government makes surprise 'climbdown' on Brexit scrutiny

The Government has tabled a surprise amendment to prevent rebellious Conservative MPs voting with the Opposition for extra Parliamentary scrutiny on the Brexit process.

In a move described by Opposition sources as a “huge climbdown”, the Government tried to persuade several Tory MPs to refuse to back Labour’s Opposition Day motion, which called for Parliament to be able to scrutinise a plan before Article 50 is triggered.

A number of Tory MPs – including some backers of the Leave campaign – are deeply concerned about Theresa May’s announcement that Article 50 will be triggered by the end of March and, in particular, the clear signal that Britain is leaving the single market.

David Davis: Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union

Video: 10 Oct: Govt will reject attempts to undo Brexit vote

Since the Conservative Party Conference, the pound has fallen by 6%, and some City firms have accelerated plans to pull jobs out of London.

On Tuesday evening the Government offered an amendment in the name of the PM to accept extra scrutiny as long as it “does not undermine the negotiating position of the Government”.

This suggests that Government whips fear losing a vote on having a vote about the Article 50 plan, and that the PM did not want to see Conservatives rebel against her so early in her premiership.

Theresa May hopes for a smooth Brexit

Video: 10 Oct: PM hopes for a smooth Brexit

It also increases the chances of some sort of Green paper or negotiating strategy having to be presented to the House of Commons.

A Number 10 source said: “The Government is focused on delivering on Brexit. We have always been clear that Parliament has an important role to play, and this motion reflects that.” 

Neil Carmichael, a Tory MP and chair of the Conservative Group for Europe, said: “(The Government’s amendment) is a step in the right direction.

“Our group would support the Opposition Day motion with the amendment.

“Wednesday’s debate will be an interesting one.”

Theresa May hopes for a smooth Brexit

Video: 10 Oct: PM hopes for a smooth Brexit

A number of Conservative MPs are expected to criticise the lack of scrutiny on the Government’s Brexit approach.

Labour also challenged the Government to answer 170 questions on the detail of its Brexit plan – one for every day before the end-of-March deadline for triggering Article 50.

Shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry and shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer said a failure to respond would reinforce the impression that ministers were “blundering” into negotiations with the EU with a “flawed Plan A” and “no Plan B whatsoever”.

This week, a court case begins which seeks to force the Government to hold a vote in Parliament before triggering Article 50.

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Published at Tue, 11 Oct 2016 23:11:42 +0000

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