Theresa May’s EU withdrawal Bill will allow the government to remove powers from parliament, Sir Vince Cable has warned.
MPs will vote on the legislation this Thursday which transposes existing EU laws into British law as part of the Brexit process.
But opponents of the Bill warn it also gives the government excessive so-called Henry VIII powers to change laws without parliamentary scrutiny.
Sir Vince said the Lib Dems have “allies in other parties” in opposing the Bill. “The government is usurping a great deal of power from parliament,” he told BBC Radio 4′s Today programme.
“The original purpose of Brexit, as I understood it, was to take back control to the British parliament. But actually the British parliament will have a lot of powers removed from it and they will be decided unilaterally by government.”
The Lib Dem leader added the fight in parliament over the Brexit process “transcends ancient party loyalties”, as pro-Remain MPs from all sides shared the same goals.
But Transport Secretary Chris Grayling, who was a leading Brexit campaigner, accused opponents of the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill of being “irresponsible”.
He said the legislation was needed to ensure there was not a “complete legal vacuum” and a “legal cliff edge” when the UK left the EU.
Later today David Davis faces a grilling from MPs on Brexit following a summer of negotiations which the EU claims has failed to deliver “decisive” progress on key issues.
The Brexit Secretary is expected to make a Commons statement on withdrawal talks on Tuesday as MPs return from the summer parliamentary recess.
Davis’ statement comes after Downing Street said Britain was ready to “intensify” talks with the EU, amid reports that the government is open to ripping up the proposed monthly negotiating timetable to allow continuous discussions in an effort to speed up progress.