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United Kingdom parliament offered vote on Brexit deal
14 November 2017, 12:50 | Darnell Patrick
GETTYDavis will remind Brussels that the UK won’t be bullied into handing over billions of pound
If they agree once again that "sufficient progress" on key issues like the Northern Ireland border, the rights of their citizens living in Britain - and the so-called "divorce bill" - it would be a huge blow to Theresa May's chances of getting a deal done before the end of Article 50.
Keir Starmer, the shadow Brexit secretary, said the Tories had performed a "significant climbdown" after David Davis, his opposite number in government, announced there would be a binding vote on any deal.
Mr Davis said that the new law will enable Parliament to go through the legislation on a "line-by-line" basis, but raises the prospect of a divisive parliamentary showdown on the eve of Brexit.
Opposition MPs and Tory rebels have been demanding such a concession.
Davis said: "We have always said we will do whatever is necessary to prepare for our exit, including bringing forward further legislation, and that is exactly what we are doing". But he made clear Britain will leave the bloc on 29 March 2019 without a deal if the legislation is defeated. Even if time is on the government's side, there are also so many different parties involved in achieving the final deal that it seems unlikely Parliament could just keep sending Davis back to Brussels until he got is just right. In a statement to the House, the Brexit Secretary appeared to perform a U-turn as he announced that the final Brexit deal will take the form of an act of Parliament.
And in a separate answer, he added: "It's a meaningful vote, but not meaningful in the sense that some believe meaningful (is), which is that you can reverse the whole thing (Brexit)".
Dominic Grieve, a former attorney general and colleague of Prime Minister Theresa May who is now opposing the government's Brexit policy, called the proposal "thoroughly stupid" as he said it would tie the government's hands in negotiations.
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"It's a transparent and fairly desperate attempt at the eleventh hour to save face and avoid losing votes in the House".
A key plank in the government's plans for leaving the European Union is returning to the House of Commons on Tuesday, so Davis' announcement was seen as a concession of sorts.
"Ministers need to do much better".
This also means that Parliament will be given time to debate, scrutinize and vote on the final agreement we strike with the European Union.
Fellow Conservative MP Antoinette Sandbach similarly labelled the Government's promise "meaningless" should Brexit talks slip beyond March 2019.
Following a meeting with the Prime Minister at Downing Street, Emma Marcegaglia, president of the lobbying group BusinessEurope, said: "We know that if companies don't see certainty probably they will have a contingency plan and probably they will leave the United Kingdom, or they will invest less".
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