Dominic Grieve: PM's move to enshrine Brexit day in law is 'thoroughly stupid'

Posted On: 
13th November 2017

The former Attorney General has launched a stinging attack on the Government's "thoroughly stupid" decision to put the date of Brexit into law.

Dominic Grieve speaking to Sky News
Credit: 
PA Images

Last week, the Government tabled an amendment which commits Britain to leaving at 11pm on 29 March next year.

The move would force any pro-European MPs to come out publicly against the bill in March 2019. 

Dominic Grieve: “Brexit’s frustrations are self-inflicted – they are not coming from me”

Dominic Grieve: You cannot close down all EU debate forever

Dominic Grieve hits out at government’s response to Brexit criticism of judges

It would also prevent any Tory MPs from siding with opposition parties in trying to vote down the final Brexit deal.

Dominic Grieve, who served as the Government's top lawyer under David Cameron, attacked the decision, saying he had “no idea what its purpose was”.  

“The amendment which has been tabled by the Government...seems to reduce the Government’s flexibility in negotiations,” he told Sky News this morning. 

“I’ve got no idea what it’s purpose is, it seems like an incoherent and thoroughly stupid amendment and it won’t have my support.”

The outspoken Brexit critic added he was “a bit mystified” by the Government’s decision to table the amendment.

“I was more than a bit mystified of the Government’s tabling of the amendment on Friday, setting a fixed date by Parliament when we have to withdraw because I find it impossible to understand how that can be helpful to anyone.

“I am going to need a lot of persuasion that that amendment has any merit at all.”

Elsewhere in the interview, he said Parliament could make the decision to cancel Brexit. 

“If Parliament wanted to, it could turn round and say, we’re not going [leave the EU.] This is a very bad idea. I happen to remain of the idea that this is a very bad idea for which we are going to suffer for decades to come, economically and in relation to our national security.”