Crucial Brexit legislation will return to the Commons next month after a pause, the Government has confirmed. Commons Leader Andrea Leadsom told MPs that the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill – known more commonly as the repeal bill – will start its committee stage on November 14.
The second day for scrutiny by MPs has also been scheduled for November 15. The Bill will put existing EU regulations on the domestic statute book, and has a guaranteed eight days of debate at the committee stage.
It is scheduled to return after the short November recess, amid claims the Government has been working to avoid potential defeats in the Commons.
Leadsom previously said the pause was caused by the Government wanting to give ‘well-considered’ responses to more than 300 amendments and at least 54 new clauses.
It comes as senior Tory rebels say they’re ‘deadly serious’ about backing one of the amendments – which calls for MPs to have the final say on Britain’s Brexit deal.
Nicky Morgan challenged Brexit Secretary David Davis over reports that Tory rebels weren’t serious about backing an amendment to Brexit legislation that would put any vote on the statute book.
The amendment to the Bill has been tabled by Tory former attorney general Dominic Grieve, who said such a move would calm the debate and ‘bring a bit of rationality’ to negotiations.
Morgan said: ‘There is a way for the Government to put this matter completely beyond doubt, and that is to accept the amendment seven to the withdrawal laid by [Mr Grieve].
‘Reports have reached members on this side that the Secretary of State doesn’t think that those Conservative members who have signed that amendment are serious about supporting it if we need to.
‘Can I tell him we are deadly serious, and it would be better for the Government to adopt a concession strategy on having a withdrawal agreement secured by statute sooner rather than later for all concerned.’
In response, Davis said: ‘I won’t pre-empt the discussions in the Bill, but those reports are not true.’
Chris Bryant, Labour MP for Rhondda, claimed that Davis would be signing the amendment if he ‘wasn’t a Government minister now’.
‘Just in case between now and then he were to lose his job wouldn’t it not be a good idea now to declare that he is going to sign up to that amendment?’ he said.
Davis replied: ‘Will I be signing somebody else’s amendment? I’m not sure – I think not, I think not.’