David Davis accused of climbdown as MPs are given binding vote on final Brexit deal

Posted On: 
13th November 2017

MPs are to be given a binding vote on the terms of the final Brexit deal struck between the Government and the rest of the EU, David Davis has announced.

David Davis announced the concession in a statement to MPs
Credit: 
Parliament TV

The Brexit Secretary said new legislation will be drawn up containing the details of the withdrawal agreement.

A Commons vote will then be held giving MPs a say on whether the deal should be enshrined in law.

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However, he insisted that if it is voted down, Britain will still leave the EU - but without a formal agreement with its remaining 27 member states.

Mr Davis said: "We have always said we will do whatever is necessary to prepare for our exit, including bringing forward further legislation, and that is exactly what we are doing.

"This is another important step that demonstrates our pragmatic approach to getting our house in order as we leave the EU.

"By announcing this Bill, we are providing clarity and certainty - both in the negotiations and at home - about the final agreement being put into UK law.

"As we move forward, we stand ready to work with MPs from across the House to ensure a smooth, and orderly exit from the EU that is effectively scrutinised by Parliament."

Mr Davis' concession came just a day before the EU Withdrawal Bill reaches its next parliamentary stage, with the Government facing a series of embarrassing defeats on a raft of proposed amendments by Labour and rebel Tories.

Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer said it was "a significant climbdown from a weak government on the verge of defeat".

He said: "For months, Labour has been calling on ministers to guarantee Parliament a final say on the withdrawal agreement. With less than 24 hours before they had to defend their flawed Bill to Parliament they have finally backed down. However, like everything with this government the devil will be in the detail.

"Ministers must now go further. They need to accept Labour’s amendments that would ensure transitional arrangements, and protect jobs and the economy from a cliff edge."

Former Labour frontbencher Chris Leslie, a supporter of the pro-EU group Open Britain, said: "What could have been a very welcome concession by the Government, instead looks like a sham that pretends to respect the sovereignty of Parliament but falls well short of what is required.

"It’s a transparent and fairly desperate attempt at the 11th hour to save face and avoid losing votes in the House.

"Ministers need to do much better. It is crucial that this meaningful vote takes place well before we leave; that defeat for the Government’s legislation will not imply leaving the EU with no deal; and that Parliament has the same role in the event of a disastrous ‘no deal’ outcome."

Lib Dem Brexit spokesman Tom Brake said: "A parliamentary vote simply isn’t good enough. The people voted to leave the EU, they should get to decide whether to accept the deal the Government has negotiated.

 "If they reject the Government's Brexit deal, they must have the option to stay in the EU."