Labour MPs ‘to be Ordered to Vote Against Brexit Bill’
Labour is preparing to instruct its MPs to vote against the second reading of the Government’s EU withdrawal bill when it comes before the Commons later this week.
The Guardian reports that the shadow cabinet will make a decision on how to vote when it meets this morning.
Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer has previously said he would not be able to support the legislation, which transposes EU legislation into UK law, in its current form.
The bill begins its second reading on Thursday, with the main votes taking place next Monday evening.
Concerns have been raised across the House that it gives too much power to the executive, with ministers able to use so-called ‘Henry VIII clauses’ to change legislation without proper parliamentary scrutiny.
Mr Starmer is also seeking more guarantees on ares such as citizens’ rights and continued participation in the EU customs union and single market during any transition period.
Labour’s stance means the Conservatives could be reliant on the votes of the DUP to carry the withdrawal bill through, although a handful of Labour MPs are expected to vote with the Government anyway.
Brexit Secretary David Davis will update MPs this afternoon about the progress of negotiations with Brussels, with Downing St saying the Government is ready to “intensify” talks.
Number 10 would prefer a series of continual meetings, rather than the current schedule of one week of talks every month.
Mr Davis’ department is also preparing to publish its plans for science and innovation, including continuing payments into the EU’s flagship Horizon 2020 research programme.
Yesterday Philip Hammond urged Tory colleagues not to try to hold up the legislation.
“I’d say to backbenchers who are thinking about seeking to amend or delay the withdrawal bill, that now is not the time to disrupt this vitally important piece of enabling legislation,” the Chancellor told the BBC.
“We are making progress in our discussions with the European Union. We are mapping out a course for Britain’s future. I am confident that we will be able to achieve the kind of strategic partnership that we want with the European Union as an independent country post Brexit in 2019.”
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