Theresa May accused of trying to 'worm her way out' of giving MPs meaningful vote on Brexit deal

Posted On: 
20th December 2017

Theresa May has been accused of trying to "worm her way out" of giving MPs a meaningful vote on the final Brexit deal after clashing with a senior MP.

Theresa May Theresa May was appearing before the Liaison Committee.
Credit: 
Sky News

The Prime Minister refused to confirm that the Commons will be given a vote on a new bill - known as a statute - implementing the agreement she strikes with Brussels.

Mrs May was dealt a huge blow last week when MPs voted 309-305 in favour of an amendment - known as Amendment 7 - tabled by Conservative rebel Dominic Grieve seeking to give parliament the power to reject the deal before Britain formally leaves the European Union.

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Appearing before the Liaison Committee, the Prime Minister was repeatedly asked by former Labour frontbencher Yvette Cooper whether the Government would abide by the result of the vote.

Ms Cooper said: "Can you confirm there will be a vote before Britain goes through the ratification process, can you confirm there will be a vote on primary legislation, not simply on a motion?"

Mrs May would only say ministers would "be looking at" the amendment passed by MPs last week.

She said: "Parliament will have two opportunities to vote - on the withdrawal agreement and then primary legislation to bring the withdrawal agreement into UK law. Parliament will have an opportunity to vote on the deal before it is finalised."

But Lib Dem Brexit spokesman Tom Brake said: "With all her muddling and obfuscation it is quite clear that Theresa May is trying to worm her way out of a meaningful vote in Parliament on the Brexit deal. But the hard reality for Theresa May is that parliament will not be denied a say and she will be held to account for her handling of negotiations.

 "Her failure to provide clear answers when questioned reveals just how much of a mess this government have got themselves in."

Labour MP Alison McGovern, of the pro-EU Open Britain campaign, said: "The Prime Minister seems desperate to pretend that her humiliating defeat in the Commons over Amendment 7 didn’t happen.

"The language of the amendment was crystal clear: Parliament must be given a real, meaningful vote on the terms of Brexit. That means by statute, not just a rubber-stamp of whatever the Government manages to negotiate.

"It is not acceptable for the Prime Minister to try and ignore the democratically expressed will of our elected MPs. That would be an affront to our sovereign Parliament and the opposite of ‘taking back control’."