Published: Wed, September 13, 2017
Science | By Cecil Little

Brexit bill battle goes on as MPs seek 157 changes

Brexit bill battle goes on as MPs seek 157 changes

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn labelled the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill a ministerial "power grab" and ordered his MPs to vote against the Government.

Before the vote, David Davis, the UK's secretary of state for exiting the European Union, emphasized that the bill offers businesses and individuals "reassurance that there will be no unexpected changes to our laws after exit day" while avoiding "a cliff edge of uncertainty".

"The Scottish Government can not recommend the Scottish Parliament give its consent to the EU (Withdrawal) Bill in its current form", a statement reads, citing Minister for UK Negotiations on Scotland's Place in Europe Michael Russell.

There will be sighs of relief within the government that the bill passed its second reading which now means it goes through to the committee stage.

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Tory rebels agreed in advance of this week's vote to keep their powder dry, directing their energies instead towards drafting amendments that will limit the government's room for manoeuvre on Brexit.

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It meant "we can move on with negotiations with solid foundations", she said.

Opponents say the bill will give sweeping powers to ministers, but the government's majority was higher than forecast.

The bill, also known as the EU Withdrawal Bill, overturns the 1972 EU Communities Act - legislation which took the United Kingdom into the EU.

Several Tory MPs have expressed disquiet over the bill but are expected to back it at second reading, the first stage of its progress through the Commons.

He described it as "bizarre" that some Labour MPs voted against the bill when changes could be made later, at the committee stage.

John Woodcock, Labour MP representing Barrow and Furness, labelled the bill an "arrogant power grab" that could damage local jobs.

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Brexit Secretary David Davis has warned that blocking the bill would amount to agreeing to a "chaotic" exit from the bloc.

Despite attempts from Labour, the Liberal Democrats and Scottish National Party to band together in opposition to the bill, the post-midnight vote was a comfortable victory for May.

"If Brexit is supposed to take back control of our laws, it's pretty hard to argue that the small number of genuinely important and substantive changes should simply be waved through parliament without thorough debate". As an MP who is very concerned about the future of our environment I could not vote a bill into law that might allow big oil and gas companies free rein in British waters.

Corbyn insisted on Monday that Labour was not anti-Brexit but had major concerns about the bill's process.

Brexit negotiators have postponed next week's scheduled round of divorce talks, adding to signs that U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May is planning a public speech on her latest strategy.

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