MPs move to block ‘no deal’ Brexit
A powerful cross-party group of MPs is drawing up plans to stop Britain crashing out of the EU without a deal.
The group, which includes Ken Clarke and other former ministers, will seek to block a ‘no deal’ Brexit.
This comes amid claims that Brussels chief negotiator Michel Barnier would be “happy” to see Britain forced into a hard Brexit.
A senior diplomatic source told the Daily Mail that the former French minister was looking to punish the UK, saying: "The idea of avenging Britain for damaging the EU by leaving resonates with Barnier.”
This follows growing concerns that a deal with the EU may not be reached, after the Prime Minister declared that £250m was being ploughed into planning for a ‘no deal’ outcome.
Brexit talks continued to stall as negotiations entered the fifth round last week, prompting Mr Barnier to tell reporters they had reached a "very disturbing" deadlock over the UK’s so called “divorced bill”.
But MPs from across the House will attempt to steer Theresa May into reaching a deal through tabling hundreds of amendments to the landmark EU Withdrawal Bill.
One amendment tabled by former Attorney General Dominic Grieve would require a separate act of Parliament on the final deal, while another – tabled by Ken Clarke - would write a two-year transition period into the legislation.
Labour MP Stephen Doughty, who is part of the group of MPs working on amending the bill, told the Guardian: “There is now growing cross-party anger at the absurd suggestion that we could crash out of the EU without a deal, and without even the transitional period that was promised by the PM – let alone that the government is attempting at the same time to give itself sweeping new powers and undermine the devolution settlement.
“It is clear the prime minister and Brexit secretary now have a real crisis on their hands over this bill and face defeat on a series of issues.”
Labour MP Chris Leslie added: “In the remaining time before committee stage starts, conversations between MPs across the parties will help identify common ground – and enshrining the transition period into law is increasingly likely if we work together in this way.
“This bill could be the last chance for parliament to put safeguards in place; it’s too important to miss these opportunities.”