Saturday

24th Feb 2018

British MPs demand vote on final Brexit deal

  • The British government should publicly "commit to Parliament having a vote on the final Treat," the cross-part report says. (Photo: UK Parliament)

British prime minister Theresa May must say whether the UK should remain in the EU single market or customs union before starting exit talks with the EU. She must also give MPs a vote on the final deal with the EU, a committee of senior MPs has demanded.

The recommendations form part of the first report of the House of Commons's cross-party Exiting the EU Committee, published on Saturday (14 January).

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

The committee argues that ministers should also seek "appropriate transitional arrangements" as part of an "outline framework" on the UK’s future trading relationship with the EU, if it is clear that a new pact cannot by agreed by the time the UK leaves the EU in spring 2019.

It adds that the government should publicly “commit to Parliament having a vote on the final Treaty”.

"It would be unsatisfactory and potentially damaging to both sides were the UK to leave the EU with no agreement having been reached," the report states.

May is expected to give a clearer idea of her negotiating plans in a speech on Tuesday (17 January).

Since becoming prime minister in July, May and her ministers have kept their cards close to their chest, insisting that they will not give a "running commentary" on their strategy and the negotiations that will follow.

She has promised to trigger Article 50, which starts a two year process of agreeing the UK’s divorce from the EU, by the end of March.

'Cliff edge' effect

But MPs across all parties have become increasingly frustrated at the lack of clarity and information about the government’s tactics.

Both May and Brexit secretary David Davis have hinted that immigration control will take priority over access to the EU single market, though they have also vowed to ensure that UK businesses continue to have unfettered access to the EU market.

"Achieving all these objectives will be difficult," notes the committee.

The demand for a transitional arrangement has grown in recent weeks, based on the assumption that the terms of the UK’s new relationship with the EU will not be finalised within a tight two-year Article 50 window.

The risk of a "cliff edge" effect "might also push some businesses to pre-empt the result of negotiations and minimise the risks to their business," the committee argues.

In a paper published on Thursday (12 January), financial sector lobby group CityUK urged ministers to ensure the harmonisation of regulation between the UK and EU, through "the mutual recognition of regulatory regimes, building on and going beyond the existing equivalence regimes."

"Two years is so short," committee chairman Hilary Benn, a Labour MP and supporter of the campaign to remain in the EU, told EUobserver, adding that "the French and German elections mean that negotiations will not really start until autumn 2017."

"Whatever deal is concluded, Parliament must be given a vote on it and the government should make this clear now," said Benn.

EU foreign policy

He said that he favours the UK being part of a "European common foreign policy area" to ensure close co-operation continues between the UK and EU and foreign, defence and security policy. "There is an overwhelming need to work together and be part of this…although we are leaving the institutions of the EU," he noted.

Elsewhere, the committee urges the government to prioritise a swift agreement on the status of UK citizens living in the EU, and vice versa, and the UK’s ongoing relationship with EU regulatory bodies and agencies, some of which are currently based in the UK.

As a "bare minimum", ministers should also resolve "the status of ongoing police and judicial cooperation; and the status of UK participation in ongoing Common Foreign and Security Policy missions," the report adds.

Appearing before a parliamentary committee on 20 December, May refused to be drawn on whether MPs should have a say on the final agreement. The government is, however, likely to lose its appeal against a High Court ruling in November that ministers must consult Parliament before triggering Article 50.

Britain to issue EU ultimatum on Tuesday

May to tell EU she is prepared to quit single market if she does not get her way in Brexit talks, with one option to turn the UK into a tax haven.

Theresa May outlines 'hard Brexit'

The British prime minister confirms that the UK will leave the single market when it leaves the EU and will seek a new trade deal.

Barnier warns UK Brexit transition period 'not a given'

After one of the tensest week so far in Brexit talks, 'substantial' disagreements remain between the UK and the EU over transition, with Michel Barnier insisting London needs to decide on the future relationship and Ireland for Brexit to happen.

News in Brief

  1. EU calls for immediate ceasefire in Syria
  2. UK's post-Brexit vision is 'pure illusion', Tusk says
  3. EU leaders express solidarity with Cyprus in Turkey drill row
  4. EU to double funding for Sahel forces
  5. EU parliament president: 'The immigration problem is Africa'
  6. May to unveil EU departure strategy next week
  7. Pregnant workers may be dismissed, EU court rules
  8. Romanian minister demands anti-corruption prosecutor fired

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. ILGA EuropeAnkara Ban on LGBTI Events Continues as Turkish Courts Reject NGO Appeals
  2. Aid & Trade LondonJoin Thousands of Stakeholders of the Global Aid Industry at Aid & Trade London
  3. Macedonian Human Rights Movement Int.European Free Alliance Joins MHRMI to End the Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  4. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Tourism Year to Promote Business and Mutual Ties
  5. European Jewish CongressAt “An End to Antisemitism!” Conference, Dr. Kantor Calls for Ambitious Solutions
  6. UNESDAA Year Ago UNESDA Members Pledged to Reduce Added Sugars in Soft Drinks by 10%
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsUzbekistan: Investigate Torture of Journalist
  8. CESICESI@Noon on ‘Digitalisation & Future of Work: Social Protection For All?’ - March 7
  9. UNICEFExecutive Director's Committment to Tackling Sexual Exploitation and Abuse of Children
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersState of the Nordic Region 2018: Facts, Figures and Rankings of the 74 Regions
  11. Mission of China to the EUDigital Economy Shaping China's Future, Over 30% of GDP
  12. Macedonian Human Rights Movement Int.Suing the Governments of Macedonia and Greece for Changing Macedonia's Name

Latest News

  1. EU agrees budget to focus on defence, security and migration
  2. EU leaders nix transnational lists, cool on 'Spitzenkandidat'
  3. Regions chief: calls for smaller EU budget are 'impossible'
  4. Election fever picks up This WEEK
  5. EU-Morocco fishing deal casts doubt on EU future foreign policy
  6. EU leaders put 'Spitzenkandidat' on summit menu
  7. European far-right political party risks collapse
  8. The key budget issues on EU leaders' table

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Swedish EnterprisesHarnessing Globalization- at What Cost? Keynote Speaker Commissioner Malmström
  2. European Friends of ArmeniaSave The Date 28/02: “Nagorno-Karabakh & the EU: 1988-2018”
  3. European Heart NetworkSmart CAP is Triple Win for Economy, Environment and Health
  4. European Free AlllianceEFA Joined the Protest in Aiacciu to Solicit a Dialogue After the Elections
  5. EPSUDrinking Water Directive Step Forward but Human Right to Water Not Recognized
  6. European Gaming & Betting AssociationGambling Operators File Data Protection Complaint Against Payment Block in Norway
  7. European Jewish CongressEJC Expresses Deep Concern Over Proposed Holocaust Law in Poland
  8. CECEConstruction Industry Gets Together to Discuss the Digital Revolution @ the EU Industry Days
  9. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Relations in the New Era
  10. European Free AlllianceEnd Discrimination of European Minorities - Sign the Minority Safepack Initiative
  11. Centre Maurits Coppieters“Diversity Shouldn’t Be Only a Slogan” Lorant Vincze (Fuen) Warns European Commission
  12. Dialogue PlatformWhat Can Christians Learn from a Global Islamic Movement?