MPs to study Brexit white paper

MPs to study Brexit white paper

MPs in the House of Commons will spend Thursday poring over a British Government White Paper setting out its Brexit strategy as the next battlegrounds in the debate over quitting the EU begin to emerge.
They will also be studying a vast list of amendments from MPs of all sides to legislation which paves the way for Theresa May to trigger Article 50 of the EU treaties to begin Brexit.
The European Union (Notification Of Withdrawal) Bill was overwhelmingly backed by a majority of 384 MPs at its second reading on Wednesday.
However the major Commons skirmishes are expected during next week’s committee stage.
Hundreds of amendments have already been tabled for debate and votes between Monday and Wednesday and the objectives set out in the White Paper are sure to inspire more.
Downing Street said the White Paper would “reflect the Government’s plan for Brexit as the PM set out in her speech on our negotiating objectives”.
On Wednesday only one Tory MP, former chancellor Ken Clarke, voted against the Bill to allow the Prime Minister to trigger Article 50.
But Jeremy Corbyn was unable to contain a revolt by 47 Labour MPs, including two shadow cabinet ministers, who defied his orders to oppose it.
Mrs May will be conscious that splits within her own party could emerge next week, with Tory MPs said to be ready to back attempts to secure EU nationals’ rights if they are already in the UK.
Labour amendments to guarantee EU nationals’ rights, to secure a “meaningful” parliamentary vote on the final deal, to lock-in single market access, and to make ministers report back to Parliament during the negotiation could also find cross-party support.
Mr Corbyn’s attention will turn first to a mini-reshuffle to replace shadow environment secretary Rachael Maskell, shadow equalities minister Dawn Butler, and shadow Welsh secretary Jo Stevens, who all quit the shadow cabinet to defy a three-line whip to oppose the Bill.
He will also have to decide what to do with the 10 junior shadow ministers and three whips, who are supposed to enforce party discipline, who voted against the Bill.
Shadow home secretary Diane Abbott, who missed the vote after being taken ill and leaving Parliament two hours beforehand at around 5pm, is highly unlikely to be disciplined.
Her spokeswoman said she was planning on voting with the party whip in favour of triggering Article 50.

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Brian Reyes
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