Brexit minister David Davis has said UK lawmakers will have the chance to vote on Britain’s final exit deal from the EU. Despite the concession, Davis stressed that the UK will leave the EU “whatever the outcome.”
Britain’s chief Brexit negotiator David Davis confirmed on Monday that parliament will be allowed to “debate, scrutinize and vote” on any final agreement on the country’s departure from the European Union.
“I can now confirm that once we’ve reached an agreement we will bring forward a specific piece of primary legislation to implement that (Brexit) agreement,” Davis told parliament. Primary legislation refers to making law by acts of parliament or statute.
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British Prime Minister Theresa May has long been under pressure to offer a “meaningful vote” on whatever deal the UK reaches with EU negotiators, as lawmakers within her own Conservative party, as well as in the opposition Labor party, threaten to stymie any future agreement.
According to Davis, the Brexit deal will only signed into law if its approved by both houses of parliament. However, Britain’s chief negotiator also stressed that the bill could not be used to reverse Brexit. When asked by Conservative MP Owen Paterson if Britain was still leaving the EU in March 2019, Davis simply replied: “Yes.”
Critics raise new Brexit bill’s shortcomings
While many in Westminster welcomed the move, some warned that the vote would likely come too late for it to have a meaningful impact on the deal. Others pointed out that the new procedure would mean that parliament would have no say on the matter if Britain failed to reach any deal with the EU.
Labour MP Chuka Umunna tweeted that Davis latest Brexit bill “does not preclude crashing out without a deal or meaningful vote,” adding that “parliament would effectively be sidelined which makes a mockery of parliamentary sovereignty.”
Concerns were also raised that any vote against the deal would simply lead to Britain crashing out of the bloc.
Conservative MP Anna Soubry tweeted: “A Brexit date fixed in law means in the event of no deal Parliament will have no say. We can’t continue negotiations or go for Norway model”
May facing crucial Brexit test
Prime Minister May will on Tuesday present a proposed withdrawal bill outlining new rules and regulations for the post-Brexit era. Although the bill his largely a “copy and paste” of current EU rules, lawmakers have already proposed 186 pages of amendments.
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May has claimed that the bill is crucial to assuring businesses in the UK and the rules will not change post-Brexit, but critics maintain that the bill could consolidate the government’s powers and undermine parliament in debating over what Britain’s future relationship with the bloc should look like.