Brexit Briefing: UK Government Heads For Row With Parliament
- The UK’s Brexit Secretary has angered members of the Westminster Parliament by suggesting they will not be able to vote on a Brexit deal until after the UK has left the EU.
- Almost immediately, he was contradicted by the British Prime Minister but doubts remain.
The UK Government, already under attack over the lack of progress in its Brexit negotiations with the EU, is now facing another row at home – with UK Brexit Secretary David Davis suggesting that members of the UK Parliament in Westminster might not have a vote on a Brexit deal until after the UK has left the EU.
Asked by opposition Labour Party politician Seema Malhotra whether Parliament could end up voting on an exit deal after the exit date, in the event that negotiations ran until the eleventh hour, Davis replied: “It could be, yeah. It depends when it concludes… it can’t come before we have the deal.”
That prompted outrage among some members of Parliament, with Malhotra issuing a statement saying: “Yet again the Government is treating Parliamentary democracy with contempt. “We were promised a ‘meaningful’ vote on the deal; it beggars belief that it may well come after we leave the European Union.”
The exchange prompted an immediate response from UK Prime Minister Theresa May, who said she expects Parliament to have a vote on the final Brexit deal before the country has formally left the bloc. “We will be able to achieve that agreement and negotiation in time for this Parliament to have the vote,” she said.
Later, a spokesperson for Davis said: "We are working closely to reach an agreement on the final deal in good time to leave the EU in March 2019. Once the deal is agreed we will meet our long-standing commitment to a vote in both Houses [of Parliament] and we expect and intend this to be before the vote in the European Parliament and therefore before we leave."
An argument with the UK Parliament would be a huge problem for May, who lost her Parliamentary majority in June after calling a General Election she did not need to. Now, she could lose a vote if she fails to bring Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionists on side or faces a rebellion from her own ruling Conservative Party.
Meanwhile, UK Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond has welcomed today’s stronger-than-expected third-quarter economic growth figures, saying GDP has continued its pattern since last year’s Brexit vote of outperforming economists’ expectations. The data prompted a sharp rise in the British Pound as they make a doubling of UK Bank Rate to 0.5% on November 2 a near-certainty.
Chart: GBP/USD Five-Minute Timeframe (October 25, 2017)
Earlier, Davis said the Brexit negotiations with the EU are not expected to end until the last moment before the UK officially leaves the bloc in March 2019.The EU tends to make decisions “at the 59th minute of the 11thhour of the 11thday and so on, and that is precisely what I would expect to happen,” he said.
The negotiations have stalled over the divorce terms, including the size of the bill the UK must pay to settle its commitments to the bloc, and the UK is keen to start talking about future relations; a step the EU may agree to take in December.
The EU side has said that in practice the negotiations will have to be finished even sooner, by the fall of 2018, to give the European Parliament and 27 national parliaments enough time to approve the deal by March 2019.Davis told a Parliamentary committee that the last-minute negotiations would be “very high-stress, very exciting for everybody watching.”
Upcoming UK/EU Event Risk (October 26, 2017, All Times GMT)
--- Written by Martin Essex, Analyst and Editor
To contact Martin, email him at email@example.com
Follow Martin on Twitter @MartinSEssex
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