Sunday

26th Feb 2017

British MPs battling for a say on Brexit

  • The government has "no authority or mandate to adopt a negotiating position without reference to the wishes of the house", an MP said. (Photo: House of Commons)

The British prime minister has turned down calls to allow MPs a say over the UK's Brexit negotiating position, but a rebellion is growing on the issue.

A spokesman for Theresa May said on Monday (10 October) that parliament would "of course … debate and scrutinise that process as it goes on".

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

But he added that "a second vote, or a vote to second-guess the will of the British people is not an acceptable way forward".

Opposition Labour MPs had asked for an emergency debate to be held on the negotiating terms. The request was turned down by the House of Commons speaker.

"Negotiating secrecy won't wash as an excuse," Ed Miliband, the Labour leader at the last election, said in a Twitter message.

"The country has a right to know the government's Brexit strategy and parliament must vote on it."

Stephen Phillips, a Conservative MP who voted for the UK to leave the EU, said the government had “no authority or mandate to adopt a negotiating position without reference to the wishes of the house and those of the British people, expressed through their elected representatives”.

He added that EU "tyranny" had been replaced by "that of a government that apparently wishes to ignore the views of the house".

Brexit minister David Davis argued that the 23 June referendum had given a clear mandate, and that the government would "reject any attempt to hold up the process unduly, or any attempt to keep Britain in the EU by the back door".

Lawsuit

But according to the Guardian, a group of Tory MPs is considering joining a legal challenge to be heard in the High Court this week to the government’s right to act without MPs' consent.

"There is so much at stake, and the process is moving so fast, that we cannot stand by the sidelines, we must do everything possible to ensure that parliament has a say,” a source close to the group of MPs told the newspaper.

Last month, in another case, government's lawyers argued that parliament's consent to launch EU exit talks was not required because the legislation that organised the EU referendum "did not prescribe steps which the government was required to make in the event of a leave vote".

Prime minister May said she would trigger article 50, the exit procedure, before the end of March next year and that control of immigration would be one the main issues.

According to the BBC, the government had planned to publish a formal proposals in the autumn to outline its position, but the idea was dropped.

Meanwhile, the pound has been losing ground to other currencies and reached a 31-year low last Friday amid reports of a "hard" Brexit that would cut the UK from the EU single market.

UK releases legal arguments on Article 50

In its recently released legal defence the UK government argues that neither the Westminster parliament, nor Scotland, Northern Ireland or Wales has a say in when Britian will trigger the Brexit process.

May: Brexit is 'quiet revolution'

The British prime minister concluded the Tory party conference in the UK by pledging to regain control of immigration and by taking a swipe at pro-EU elites.

British MPs get chance to shape Brexit strategy

British prime minister Theresa May continued to talk tough on Brexit in a parliament debate on Wednesday, but left room for MPs to prevent a future trade war with the EU.

News in Brief

  1. Spanish court jails former IMF chief Rato
  2. Macron proposes Nordic-style economic model for France
  3. Germany posts record high budget surplus
  4. Labour ousts Ukip in Brexit homeland
  5. Dutch lower house approves EU-Ukraine treaty
  6. WTO says Russian pork ban was illegal
  7. Belgian nuclear plant made 'significant progress' on safety
  8. Report: Commission gauging EU support for Poland sanctions

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EURORDISJoin Rare Disease Day and Help Advocate for More Research on Rare Diseases
  2. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceStudents Who Are Considered Fit Get Better Grades in School
  3. QS World MBA TourMeet with Leading International Business Schools in Paris on March 4th
  4. Malta EU 2017Economic Governance: Agreement Reached on Structural Reform Support Programme for Member States
  5. Socialists & DemocratsWomen Have to Work Ten Years Longer to Match Lifetime Earnings of Men
  6. Counter BalanceTrans-Adriatic Pipeline Is a Major Risk for Banks, Warns New Analysis
  7. Martens CentreEU and US Migration Policies Compared: Join the Debate on February 28th
  8. Swedish EnterprisesTechnology and Data Flows - Shaping the Society of Tomorrow
  9. UNICEFNearly 1.4 Million Children at Risk of Death as Famine Looms Across Africa and Yemen
  10. Malta EU 2017End of Roaming Fees: Council Reaches Agreement on Wholesale Caps
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Innovation House Opens in New York to Help Startups Access US Market
  12. Centre Maurits CoppietersMinorities and Migrations