Published: Wed, November 15, 2017
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Key Brexit battle begins as repeal bill is tabled

Key Brexit battle begins as repeal bill is tabled

MPs had their first chance to scrutinise the EU withdrawal bill, which would formally end Britain's membership of the European Union and transfer four decades of EU legislation into United Kingdom law. This problem is about to be brought into sharp focus as the centrepiece of the government's legislative programme for Brexit, the EU Withdrawal Bill, returns to parliament this week.

Mr Corbyn ordered his MPs not to take part in the vote, so they would not be seen to support the Government but would also avoid defying the Brexit referendum result.

As MPs debated the EU Withdrawal Bill, the Prime Minister met with Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon in Downing Street.

The debate continues on Wednesday, with the key vote on the Brexit date amendment not expected until next month.

MPs debated one of the government s own motions - to enshrine in law the moment Britain leaves the European Union as March 29, 2019 at 2300 GMT, 11:00pm in London and midnight in Brussels - but were not voting on the matter on Tuesday.

Grieve said there could be some room for compromise on most issues in the coming weeks but the efforts to find consensus were undermined by the government's "mad" amendment to ensure the European Union exit date is fixed at 11pm on 29 March.

Some of his colleagues, including former cabinet minister Morgan, shouted "you won't be", indicating they would join him in rejecting the timetable.

And Tory backbencher Anna Soubry could be heard calling her fellow Conservative MP Bernard Jenkin a "disgrace" as he told the House of Commons: "Any MPs who voted for Article 50 but then do not want to fix the date are open to the charge that they don't want us to leave the European Union".

Two Cabinet members quit in the past fortnight - defence secretary Sir Michael Fallon and global development secretary Priti Patel - while two others stand accused of instructing May how to run Brexit.

The government said it wants an implementation period of around two years after Brexit to stop an economically damaging "cliff-edge" - but insists Britain will be fully out of the EU.

Both Scotland's and Wales' devolved governments have expressed fears the "power grab" legislation will return responsibilities from Brussels to London, rather than to their countries' administrations. "But we want a proper Brexit, one that works for jobs and industry, that's what we're trying to get".

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