POLITICS

MPs Will Get Final Say On Brexit Deal, Government Agrees In U-Turn

But it doesn't mean MPs will be able to stop Brexit

13/11/2017 16:50 GMT | Updated 13/11/2017 17:33 GMT

MPs will get a vote on the final Brexit deal, David Davis has confirmed after the Government backed down in the face of Tory rebels.

The Brexit Secretary told the Commons this afternoon the EU Withdrawal Bill will be amended to ensure MPs will have the power to reject or approve the final deal with Brussels.

However, if MPs did vote down the agreement, it could lead to the UK leaving the EU without a deal.

The announcement comes just a day before MPs beginning debating changes to the Government’s flagship EU Withdrawal Bill, including an amendment which would have put into law Parliament’s right to vote on the deal.

Speaking from the despatch box, 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.”

Tory MP Dominic Grieve, who tabled the amendment which would have guaranteed MPs a vote, said the Government’s plan did not go far enough.

He claimed MPs could still be left with a vote on the deal after the UK has left the EU.

The former Attorney General said: “Surely the answer is that if we run out of time, none of these suggestions that have now been put forward is that time has to be extended under Article 50 so that all parties are able to deal with it.

“That’s the mechanism that’s provided [in his amendment] and surely that’s the mechanism that the House and the government should be following.”

Labour’s Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer described the announcement as a “a significant climbdown from a weak government on the verge of defeat.”

He added: “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.”

Labour MP Chris Leslie, backer of anti-Brexit group Open Britain, was more scathing in his response.

He 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 eleventh 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.”