UK

Theresa May warns rebel MPs are putting Brexit in jeopardy

Theresa May warns rebel MPs are putting Brexit in jeopardy
She wants an ‘orderly and smooth exit’ (Picture: Getty)

Tory rebels trying to get more control over Brexit terms could put the whole thing in danger, Theresa May warned today.

MPs led by Dominic Grieve are insisting on legislation being brought in to allow parliament to approve terms before they are finalised.

But the prime minister said it could mean there wasn’t ‘the orderly and smooth exit from the European Union that we wish to have’.

She is facing a potential defeat when MPs vote this evening on new laws which will repeal the 1972 legislation binding Britain to the EU. They will also copy existing EU law into domestic law to ensure legal continuity after we officially leave on March 29, 2019.

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May has tried to avert a rebellion in parliament by promising parliament a series of votes on any deal ‘as soon as possible’ after Brexit talks end.

The government has conceded that a separate piece of legislation, allowing MPs more say on the deal, will be needed and aims to pass another bill implementing the Brexit agreement once final terms are agreed with Brussels.

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But Grieve signalled that might not go far enough for him to withdraw the amendment.

The former attorney general wants parliament to have a meaningful vote on any deal before it is finalised so they can hold the government to account.

Parliament will get vote on Brexit
The EU flag outside parliament today (Picture: EPA)

But May warned that his proposal could push the task of transposing EU law legislation right to the end of the two-year negotiation period.

‘That could be at a very late stage in the proceedings which could mean that we are not able to have the orderly and smooth exit from the European Union that we wish to have,’ she told parliament before an hours-long debate on the exit plan.

If passed by a simple majority vote, the amendment would require parliament to approve the government’s final Brexit deal by passing a separate written law once the terms of the withdrawal agreement are known.

That could allow lawmakers to send May back to the negotiating table if they do not like the deal – something that might not be supported by EU negotiators.

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