David Davis has just announced the government will introduce a separate bill to deal with the transition period after the UK leaves the European Union.
The concession means MPs will get a final say on the Brexit deal. The new bill includes the agreement on citizens’ rights, any financial settlement and the details of an implementation period agreed between both sides.
But it puts MPs in an invidious position. Asked whether Brexit would still go ahead if the bill was rejected, Davis simply said "yes" – meaning the country could leave the EU without a deal in place, the cliff edge scenario feared by businesses across the country.
The Cabinet minister added it was down to political will and he was "quite certain the political will is there".
But he was unmoved by the prospect of leaving without a deal.
"We would be able to make a good future for Britain without," he told a shocked Commons, although admitted: "It's not the best future."
Davis said: “We have always said we will do whatever is necessary to prepare for our exit, including bringing forward further legislation, and that is exactly what we are doing.
“This is another important step that demonstrates our pragmatic approach to getting our house in order as we leave the EU.
“By announcing this bill, we are providing clarity and certainty – both in the negotiations and at home – about the final agreement being put into UK law.
“As we move forward, we stand ready to work with MPs from across the House to ensure a smooth, and orderly exit from the EU that is effectively scrutinised by Parliament.”
Davis stressed that the exact details of the withdrawal agreement were subject to ongoing and future negotiations and "cannot be known until those negotiations are near completion".
Brexit minister Steve Baker had intimated such a bill was being readied during a committee hearing last month, but this is the first time it has been confirmed as primary legislation.
More to follow…