Davis condemns Labour over ‘cynical’ bid to block ‘only viable plan’ for Brexit
MPs clashed in the House of Commons over the Government’s flagship Brexit Bill.
David Davis has accused Labour of adopting a “cynical and unprincipled” position by seeking to block flagship Brexit legislation.
The Brexit Secretary added Britons “will not forgive them” if they attempt to “delay or destroy” the process of leaving the European Union (EU).
Mr Davis also claimed a “smooth and orderly exit is impossible” if the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill, dubbed the repeal bill, is not approved.
MPs will be allowed to vote on Labour’s amendment to the bill, which seeks to block it from receiving a second reading, after it was selected by Speaker John Bercow.
The Opposition warns the proposed legislation “fails to protect and reassert” the principle of parliamentary sovereignty as it hands “sweeping powers” to ministers.
Jeremy Corbyn’s party adds this will allow the Government to “bypass Parliament” on key decisions.
The Bill will overturn the 1972 Act which took Britain into the European Economic Community and will transpose relevant EU law onto the UK statute book to ensure there are no gaps in legislation at the point of Brexit.
It will be debated over two days, with any votes taking place on September 11.
Mr Davis was heckled by Labour MPs after claiming that support for Mr Corbyn’s amendment would be a vote for a “chaotic” Brexit.
The Repeal Bill is one of the most important pieces of legislation to come before the House - essential for a smooth and orderly EU exit— Steve Baker MP (@SteveBakerHW) September 7, 2017
He said: “The amendment suggests that this Bill provides some sort of blank cheque to ministers. That’s a fundamental misrepresentation of Parliament and our democratic process.”
Mr Davis said the Bill does not provide “unchecked” powers, adding: “Without this legislation, a smooth and orderly exit is impossible.
“We cannot await the completion of negotiations before ensuring this legal certainty and continuity at the point of our exit. To do so or to delay or oppose the Bill would be reckless in the extreme.
“I have in the past witnessed the Labour Party on European business take the most cynical, unprincipled approach to legislation that I’ve ever seen. They’re now attempting to do the same today.
“The British people will not forgive them if the end of their process is to delay or destroy the process by which we leave the European Union.”
Mr Davis had earlier said he would “stand ready” to listen to “those who offer improvements to the Bill in the spirit of preparing our statute book for withdrawal from the European Union”.