Theresa May accused of ripping up Parliamentary rule book to rush through Brexit law

Posted On: 
12th February 2019

Theresa May has been accused of showing "contempt for democracy" after she announced plans to rip up Parliamentary procedure to rush through vital Brexit legislation.

Theresa May plans to change parliamentary procedure in order to get her Brexit bill passed.
PA Images

The Prime Minister told MPs that with the UK due to leave the European Union on 29 March, there may not be time for the measures contained in the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act to be fully adhered to.

Under the CRAG, which was passed in 2010, MPs have 21 sitting days to scrutinise legislation which seeks to change an international treaty.

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But Mrs May said the Withdrawal Agreement Bill - which will seek to bring her Brexit deal into law - will contain a clause over-ruling CRAG.

The Prime Minister told MPs: "In most circumstances that period of 21 sitting days may be important for the House to have an opportunity to study the agreement. But in this instance, MPs would already have debated and approved the agreement as part of the meaningful vote.

"While we will follow normal procedure if we can, where there is insufficient time remaining after the meaningful vote, we will make provision in the Withdrawal Agreement Bill, with Parliament's consent, to ensure we are able to ratify on time to guarantee our exit in an orderly way."

Confirming Labour would vote against the emergency measure, shadow Brexit minister Paul Blomfield said: "This plan shows contempt for our democracy. The Government is trying to avoid proper scrutiny and run down the clock in order to force through its bad Brexit deal.

"Labour will oppose this change, which would deny Parliament full scrutiny."

Lib Dem MP Layla Moran, of the Best for Britain campaign group, said: "May will stop at nothing to crowbar through her botched Brexit deal even if that means ripping up the statute book and subverting parliamentary scrutiny and process. 

"Cheerleaders for Brexit waxed lyrical that leaving the EU was the only way for our Parliament to take back control. But instead it seems the Government's blind determination to exit on 29 March no matter what means they’re happy to take control away from our elected representatives and force them into a corner. This cynical and undemocratic move must not be allowed to happen."