Labour to work with Tory rebels in bid to get Commons vote on final Brexit deal

Labour will join forces with Tory rebels in an attempt to force Theresa May into giving MPs a veto on the final Brexit deal, Sir Keir Starmer has said.

The shadow Brexit secretary demanded six changes to the "paused" repeal bill, formally known as the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill, including Parliament being given final approval of the exit agreement.

Sir Keir said the Government has unexpectedly withheld the legislation from the House of Commons for two weeks running because it fears defeat on at least 13 amendments at the hands of Tory rebels.

Labour will join forces with Tory rebels in an attempt to force Theresa May into giving MPs a veto on the final Brexit deal
Labour will join forces with Tory rebels in an attempt to force Theresa May into giving MPs a veto on the final Brexit deal (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

He said it was "clear" that ministers cannot proceed with the Bill as it stands and threatened to "work with all sides" to get his changes made - unless ministers adopt them and end the "paralysis".

The Conservative Party's disastrous general election has left Mrs May in charge of a minority Government relying on votes from the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) to get its business through the Commons.

This means a relatively small revolt by Tory MPs could derail the Bill, although ministers will hope that Brexit-backing Labour MPs will help them get it passed.

Writing in the Sunday Times, Sir Keir demanded:

MPs get the "final say on whether to approve the withdrawal agreement and how best to implement it".

Brexit minister David Davis
Brexit minister David Davis (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

The transition period requested by the Prime Minister is added into the legislation.

A "completely different approach" to the use of so-called Henry VIII powers which the Government argues it needs to make technical changes to regulations repatriated from Brussels, but which Sir Keir described as "silencing Parliament and handing sweeping powers" to ministers.

A guarantee that workers' and consumer rights, as well as environmental standards, are not watered down after Brexit.

A concession to devolved administrations who want repatriated powers which would normally fall under their remit to go straight to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, rather than first being taken over by the Westminster government.

Putting the EU charter of fundamental rights into UK law.

The shadow Brexit secretary demanded six changes to the
The shadow Brexit secretary demanded six changes to the "paused" repeal bill (PA Wire)

The shadow Brexit secretary wrote: "I believe there is a consensus in Parliament for these changes. And there is certainly no majority for weakening rights, silencing Parliament and sidelining the devolved administrations.

"There is a way through this paralysis.

"Labour will work with all sides to make that happen."

Sir Keir's intervention comes after EU leaders agreed to begin scoping work on trade talks in a move which boosted Mrs May.

But they also made clear Britain must make further concessions on its divorce bill to unlock talks on a future trading relationship.

David Davis will travel to Paris for Brexit talks on Monday after France appeared to emerge as the most hardline EU member state on the exit bill.

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