Brexit Bill back to Commons as Tories threaten rebellion

The Government announced the Brexit Bill will return to Parliament after a delay of a month – as Tories warn they will rebel unless they are given a meaningful vote on the final deal.

Plans for MPs to debate the so-called Great Repeal Bill – a key legal step to formalise Brexit – were delayed after nearly 400 wrecking amendments were added to it.

But a Brexit department spokesman today announced it will finally be brought back to the Commons on November 14 for debate.

Meanwhile, Remain-backing Tories said they are ‘deadly serious’ about rebelling against Theresa May unless they are given a meaningful vote on the final deal.

The stark warning comes after David Davis yesterday suggested MPs might not get a vote until after Britain quits the bloc in March 2019 if negotiations are dragged out.

He was quickly slapped down by the PM who said she  ‘expects and intends’ to call a vote on the Brexit deal before Britain leaves.

Brexit Secretary David Davis, pictured in Parliament today, said all parties want to make progress quickly so Parliament can get a proper and meaningful vote 

But Remain-backing Tory backbenchers said they will hold ministers’ feet to the fire a and could rebel to force the assurance is enshrined n law.

Nicky Morgan, the former education secretary, told The Commons: ‘There is a way for the Government to put this matter completely beyond doubt, and that is to accept the amendment seven to the withdrawal laid by (Tory MP Dominic Grieve).

‘Reports have reached members on this side that the Secretary of State doesn’t think that those Conservative members who have signed that amendment are serious about supporting it if we need to.

‘Can I tell him we are deadly serious.

‘And it would be better for the Government to adopt a concession strategy on having a withdrawal agreement secured by statute sooner rather than later for all concerned.’

Theresa May insisted at Prime Minister's Questions (pictured) she was 'confident' she could get a deal in time to meet her promise

Theresa May insisted at Prime Minister’s Questions (pictured) she was ‘confident’ she could get a deal in time to meet her promise

Labour’s shadow Brexit Secretary Sir Keir Starmer hit out at the government and said a commitment for a proper vote on the deal ‘cannot now be casually be dispensed with’.

Sir Keir said: ‘The Secretary of State has repeatedly asked us to accept his word at the despatch box.


Remain-supporting MPs were enraged when David Davis admitted there may not be time for them to vote on the Brexit deal before Britain leaves.

Davis effectively admitted that Theresa May’s promise of a ‘meaningful vote’ on the final deal could be broken if negotiations go down to the wire on March 29, 2019.

May insisted she is confident the deal will be struck in time for the vote to be held. It is thought this timetable requires a deal to be agreed by Autumn 2018.  

Critics say by definition a vote on the deal cannot be ‘meaningful’ if it happens after Brexit has happened.  

The row will fuel demands from Remain MPs to write the vote into the Government’s flagship Brexit laws.

The European Union (Withdrawal) Bill is already bogged down with more than 300 amendments – many of which try to write into law the meaningful vote.

It currently seems likely there is enough support in the Commons to pass at least one of the amendments.

If it happens, it means Britain could leave the EU but have not implemented its exit deal because of a pending vote in Parliament.

If it de-rails the Brexit laws entirely, Britain could fall out in March 2019 without making current EU laws British and without removing the mechanism for imposing EU laws in Britain.

Nobody knows what would happen if this is the case. 

‘Given the events of the last 24 hours, will he now accept the amendments to the Withdrawal Bill that the Article 50 vote should be put into law so we all know where we stand and we don’t have to repeat this exercise?’

Yesterday, Mr Davis warned MPs the Brexit talks were likely go down to the wire in March 2019 – meaning the vote promised to MPs could be after exit happens.

But Mrs May dismissed the claim at Prime Minister’s Questions, telling enraged Remain MPs she was ‘confident’ she would keep her promise of a ‘meaningful’ vote on the deal. 

Downing Street said the plan to conclude the Brexit talks by October next year leaving time for the crucial vote before exit day on March 30, 2019.

And today Mr Davis said all parties want to make progress quickly, adding: ‘The issue here is one of practicality and what we control.

‘What we control we will run in order to give Parliament a proper and meaningful vote at the right time.’ 

He added that if the current timetable is met then it is likely the European Parliament will have a vote in December 2018 or January 2019, noting: ‘We will have that before the House before then. There’s no doubt about that.

‘That undertaking is absolutely cast-iron.’

Dominic Grieve, Tory backbencher ad former attorney general, said the UK and European parliaments must approve any Brexit deal.

He said: ‘The only way in which we can do that properly is by statute in this House.

‘In those circumstances isn’t it rather fanciful to imagine that having reached a deal with the European Union, they will hold us in some strange way to ransom because we point out that we need the time to enact the necessary statute.

‘This flies in the face of reality, it seems to me, and I think it would just tone down the debate a little and bring a bit of rationality if we understood that our European Union partners would expect us to reach our own conclusion in accordance with our constitutional requirements.’

No 10 yesterday said the Prime Minister still retains confidence in her Brexit Secretary despite the extraordinary row at the heart of Government.

The next EU summit will be held in mid-December and both sides signalled at last week’s meeting the target was to begin the trade phase of talks then. 

Both sides have publicly said they are aiming for a deal by October 2018.