10:11AM, Thursday 16 March 2017
Former attorney general Dominic Grieve accused fellow MPs of ‘living in wonderland’ after the government voted not to guarantee MPs a vote on the outcome of the Brexit negotiations.
The Beaconsfield MP, whose constituency includes Burnham, was one of a group of Tory backbenchers who spoke out against the bill.
The Brexit Bill is the mechanism through which the government can trigger Article 50, and begin the formal process of leaving the EU.
Speaking during the debate Mr Grieve said: “I want to support the government in carrying out an efficient and effective Brexit but, after listening to some of the contributions this afternoon, I think I am living in wonderland. Far from that being an obstruction of the process, I would expect it to be part of the normal constitutional process and the government to seek the endorsement of the House for that very significant act.”
He accused the government of being ‘frankly deranged’ if MPs were not allowed a vote if there is no deal at the end of the negotiation process.
Despite his concerns, Mr Grieve only abstained on the motion, along with a few other would-be Tory rebels.
Their mini-rebellion was not enough to prevent the Commons from throwing out amendments to the Brexit bill that had been previously passed by the Lords and the legislation later passed without any amendments after a short debate.
Later Mr Grieve added: “The government has been reluctant to explain the process, which is what my abstention was about, respecting that parliamentary process.
“A lot of people voted to remain and a vote would allow the concerns of those voters to be taken into account.”
Brexit Secretary David Davis told the Exiting the EU Committee yesterday (Wednesday) that he expected the Brexit Bill to be given Royal Assent at some point today (Thursday).
But local pro-European groups remained defiant in light of the Lords’ amendments defeat in the commons.
John Barron, Maidenhead for Europe organiser, said: “We were pleased with the proposed amendments and the defeat is a setback, but we believe the decision is a mistake and people will realise that as developments unfold.
“As Theresa May’s constituents our position is unique and we have to make use of that as we campaign going forward.”
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