David Davis has confirmed that while parliament will have a vote on the final Brexit deal - MPs and peers will not be able to prevent the United Kingdom leaving the European Union.
The Brexit secretary made clear this morning that parliament will have a choice between voting for the Brexit deal struck by Theresa May or voting for Brexit with no deal at all.
“Parliament gave the decision on leaving to the people by a vast majority. It decided it was the people who make the decision in a referendum. So it is not for parliament to reverse that,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.
Davis added he was confident parliament would accept the deal. “They won’t vote it down. This negotiation will succeed,” he said.
It is unlikely parliament would vote against the final deal. However a handful of MPs and peers have said they could.
Former Labour cabinet minister Lord Hain said yesterday “if the deal as it comes to both Houses is judged by Parliament to be a bad deal, surely we have a duty on behalf of the people of Britain to vote against it”.
Theresa May has said she will trigger Article 50 - the formal mechanism for leaving the EU - and begin two years of negotiations before the end of March.
She faces a grilling by MPs over her Brexit plans later today after confirming Britain will quit the single market and warning she will walk away from exit talks rather than accept a “punitive” deal.
The prime minister set out plans for a “bold and ambitious” free trade agreement allowing the UK to continue doing business with its 27 former partners without paying “huge sums” into EU budgets.
Labour warned the PM was on course to turn Britain into “bargain basement economy” while the European Parliament’s chief Brexit negotiator insisted the days of Britain cherry-picking its relationship with Brussels were over.
May will be quizzed by MPs about the divisive strategy when she appears in the Commons for prime minister’s questions.
In the long-awaited speech, May said she was “confident” a trade deal and a new strategic partnership between the UK and the EU can be achieved within the two-year deadline set out in Article 50, insisting a good deal for Britain will also be good for Europe.
She warned: “I know there are some voices calling for a punitive deal that punishes Britain and discourages other countries from taking the same path.
“That would be an act of calamitous self-harm for the countries of Europe. And it would not be the act of a friend.”
May confirmed she wants to take Britain out of the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice and restore control over immigration.
She gave her strongest hint yet that the UK could leave the European customs union (CU), stating she wanted to ensure “frictionless” cross-border trade.