David Davis has been accused of hijacking a compromise deal between anti-Brexit Tory MPs and the Prime Minister as part of a high-risk strategy to crush a rebellion.
Remain-backing MP Antoinette Sandbach made the claim the morning after the Government put forward a deal aimed at reassuring potential rebels Parliament would be heard if the Brexit talks collapse.
The proposal does not give MPs power to tell the Government what to do next in that situation – something which former Attorney General Dominic Grieve had been pushing for.
Grieve claimed the new amendment to the EU Withdrawal Bill had been changed at the “last minute” in order to weaken the role Parliament would play – a move the rebels believe goes back on assurances they had received from Theresa May.
Speaking on Sky News on Friday morning, Sandbach added her voice to those who believe they have been duped.
She said: “What seemed to have happened was very late in the day DexEU got involved and it looks like the process was hijacked, quite frankly.
“David Davis has sent out an email to the Lords that does not reflect the position and I would say is almost misleading in the way that it’s framed.
“It was quite clear that there were positive and constructive discussions that were taking place and in that very last hour something changed.”
The Lords will vote on the Government’s compromise plan on Monday, and if it is backed MPs will get a vote on it on Wednesday.
An amendment by Grieve has also been tabled, which, if passed, would give Tory MPs an opportunity to defeat the Government when it comes back to the Commons.
Sandbach added: “There was no communication, there was no further discussion and I think it’s a very high-risk strategy because it’s quite clear that the Lords can put back Dominic Grieve’s original amendment.
“The Government’s amendment may not pass in the Lords so it may not come back to the Commons.
“So I think that’s very high-risk, so I hope that there are steps taken today to speak, to continue the dialogue because this about the future of our country, this is what happens in the event of a ‘no deal’ and to try to reduce Parliament to a school debating chamber is quite frankly ridiculous.”
Speaking in the Commons on Thursday morning, Brexit Secretary David Davis said any amendment would have to meet specific criteria. Namely that it could not overturn the referendum result; it does not “undermine the ongoing negotiation”; and it respects the constitutional convention that in matters of foreign policy “the Government negotiates and Parliament passes its view at the end of the process”.
A source in the Brexit department told HuffPost UK: “David Davis set out the three tests before talks were even suggested, so it should be no surprise that our compromise amendment meets them.”
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