MPs plotting vote on Brexit plans before Article 50 triggered

Posted On: 
16th October 2016

A cross-party group of MPs will try to force a vote on Theresa May's Brexit plans before she triggers formal negotiations with the EU.

Former Labour leader Ed Miliband is one of the big names behind the plan
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Former Labour leader Ed Miliband and ex-Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg are among those set to table a Commons motion demanding to see the Brexit negotiation plans before Article 50 is invoked.

The motion proposed will call on the Government to publish an outline of its negotiation plan and for it to be agreed by the House of Commons prior to negotiations with the EU commencing.

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Speaking on behalf of the Open Britain campaign, Mr Miliband said the plan did not seek to overturn the result, but was intended to hold the Government to account.

He said: “The referendum was a mandate for Brexit but there is no mandate from the referendum for a hard, destructive Brexit. This is not about overturning the result but giving Parliament a say in determining the terms of our departure from the EU.

“This transcends party politics – for voters and politicians. This is about the national interest. As it negotiates our EU exit, the Government must be held to account by Parliament for the biggest decisions we will take in a generation about our economy and place in the world.

The group is primarily aimed at retaining Britain’s membership of the single market, an outcome touted by some commentators as a “soft Brexit”.

Former Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg, said parliament must be able to scrutinise the issue which “will have massive economic consequences”.

He added: “It's absurd that Brexiteers who have spent years condemning the lack of accountability of the EU are now seeking to marginalise Parliament on some of the most important decisions in a generation.

Tory MP Nick Herbert, who led the Conservative Remain campaign said the “hard Brexit ideologues” are “determined to pull Britain out of the Single Market regardless of the damage to our economy and with minimal scrutiny”.

“It's deeply ironic that those who campaigned to restore parliamentary sovereignty are now so adamant that parliament should have no say over the biggest change this country will make in a generation”, he said.

Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer said by negating to hold a vote, the Government would be “sidelining parliament”.

“The Government have now finally conceded that there needs to be proper scrutiny of their plans for Brexit. That is a real victory for Parliament," he said.

“Now they need to take the next step and guarantee the House of Commons will have a chance to vote on the basic terms of Brexit before Article 50 is invoked.

“Anything less would be side-lining Parliament on the defining issue facing Britain.”

Conservative and Leave supporter Stephen Phillips is also among the MPs tabling the motion.

A new poll, commissioned by the Open Britain campaign, shows 59% of the public wish to remain in the single market with 41% opposed.

58% of voters also thought that leaving the Single Market would have a negative impact on the UK economy, while 30% thought it would have a positive impact and 12% thought it would not make a difference.

But Secretary of State and Leave campaigner Priti Patel told the BBC's Andrew Marr show this morning: "The British people have spoken and we are going to deliver for them.

"This is not about using parliament as a vehicle to subvert the democratic will of the British public."