Theresa May breaks promise to publish Brexit bill following Cabinet revolt

Posted On: 
23rd May 2019

Theresa May has been forced to ditch plans to finally let MPs see her Brexit bill after a revolt by her Cabinet.

Theresa May told MPs the Withdrawal Agreement Bill would be published on Friday.
PA Images

The Prime Minister had told the Commons that the Withdrawal Agreement Bill would be published on Friday "so the House has the maximum possible time to study its detail".

But its pledge to give MPs a vote on whether to hold a second EU referendum sparked a furious backlash from a number of Cabinet ministers, and led to the resignation of Commons leader Andrea Leadsom.

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In a major climbdown, Number 10 announced the publication of the WAB has been delayed to allow Mrs May to "listen to her colleagues' concerns" about the legislation.

It has also emerged that the chances of MPs ever getting the chance to vote on the bill are receding.

Government whip Mark Spencer - an emergency stand-in for Ms Leadsom at Business Questions on Thursday morning - said ministers had hoped for the crunch vote to take place on Friday, 7 June, but that they had failed to reach agreement with Labour for the Commons to sit that day.

A Labour source hit back: "This is just a smokescreen because the Government can't get agreement among themselves to bring forward the bill. It's the Government that schedules House business, not us."

Meanwhile, Downing Street insisted the Prime Minister remained determined to pass her Brexit bill, despite mounting calls for her to resign as soon as tomorrow.

He spokesman said: "The Prime Minister, as she has been throughout, is focused on delivering Brexit for the British people."