Blocking EU repeal bill is vote for chaotic Brexit, minister warns UK lawmakers

Reuters News
Posted: Sep 10, 2017 5:43 PM

LONDON (Reuters) - Refusing to back legislation to sever Britain's political, financial and legal ties with the European Union would be a vote for a chaotic Brexit, Britain's Brexit minister David Davis said ahead of a parliamentary vote on Monday.

Parliament is due to hold a second day of debate on the EU withdrawal bill on Monday, before a late-night vote on whether to allow the legislation to continue to the next stage of the process, when more detailed scrutiny will take place.

The bill seeks largely to 'copy and paste' EU law into British legislation to ensure the UK has functioning laws and the same regulatory framework as the bloc at the moment of Brexit, something the government says provides certainty for companies.

"A vote against this bill is a vote for a chaotic exit from the European Union," Davis said in a statement, calling on lawmakers to support the legislation, also known as the repeal bill.

"Businesses and individuals need reassurance that there will be no unexpected changes to our laws after exit day and that is exactly what the repeal bill provides. Without it, we would be approaching a cliff edge of uncertainty which is not in the interest of anyone."

The opposition Labour Party has already said it plans to vote against the bill unless the government comes forward with concessions, and has said several clauses in the legislation amount to a "power grab" by government.

The government has promised concerned lawmakers that ministers would not use the wide-ranging powers to make "substantive changes" to law.

To vote down the bill, Labour would need to convince EU supporters in the governing Conservatives to side with them, but some more vocal pro-EU Conservative lawmakers have said they will vote with the government after asking for reassurance that parliament will be able to scrutinize any changes to the law.

Pro-EU Conservative lawmaker Ken Clarke told Sky News he expected the government to have to change the wording of the bill in order to win over parliament.

"We have been reassured they are not going to use these powers in any policy-making way ... parliament would be sensible to get them to write it so they are not giving themselves the possibility of using powers that no government has ever tried to take at the expense of parliament before," he said.

(Reporting by Kylie MacLellan; Editing by Catherine Evans)