Fresh limits promised on powers in Brexit bill in bid to avoid Tory rebellion

UK ministers have promised fresh limits on powers contained in flagship Brexit legislation in a bid to avoid a Tory rebellion in the British Commons.

UK justice minister Dominic Raab told MPs that no statutory instrument approved under the controversial clause nine in the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill would take effect until Parliament had voted on Britain’s final deal with the bloc.

Dominic Grieve

Dominic Grieve, the Tory former British attorney general, wants the Bill changed to require any final Brexit deal to be approved by a separate Act of Parliament before it could be implemented.

His amendment seeks to make changes to clause nine of the Bill, which provides the Government with the power to use secondary legislation to implement any Brexit deal - which would require less scrutiny from MPs.

Mr Raab said: "I want to provide three very clear assurances to the House today.

"First, secondary legislation passed under clause nine will either be affirmative, or considered by the committee established under the amendment tabled by (Procedure Committee chairman Charles Walker).

"Second, the Government is committed to publishing in draft such statutory instruments, as far as possible, as early as possible to facilitate maximum scrutiny, which is another point that we discussed.

"Third, we expect that the vast majority of statutory instruments enacted under clause nine will not come into force until exit day when the withdrawal agreement comes into force.

"But I can give my right honourable friend and the House the concrete assurance, following the timeframe set out in today’s written ministerial statement, that none of the SIs, none of the statutory instruments, under clause nine will come into effect until Parliament has voted on the final deal.

"And I hope this provides the important and sufficient reassurance for honourable members to withdraw these amendments."

This approach has two advantages, Mr Raab said, adding: "It retains our ability to use clause nine in time to fully implement the withdrawal agreement.

"But it also squarely addresses the concern, fairly and honestly reflected in amendment seven, that there should be a meaningful vote ... and that we should not bring new law implementing the withdrawal agreement into effect if Parliament votes the withdrawal agreement down."


 

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