‘Disgraceful’: Theresa May govt introduces Brexit bill, sparks row
Calling it “contempt of parliament”, opposition leaders said it was “disgraceful” that only five days was allowed to debate the bill, which seeks to authorise the British prime minister to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty to leave the European Union.world Updated: Jan 26, 2017 21:05 IST
The Theresa May government on Thursday introduced a short bill seeking to authorise the British prime minister to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty to leave the European Union, but it soon drew criticism for the brief time allowed to debate it in the House of Commons.
The bill was introduced following the Supreme Court ruling earlier this week that the May government could not initiate the exit process on its own, but must do so after seeking the approval of parliament. Five days have been earmarked to debate it in the House.
Calling it “contempt of parliament”, opposition leaders said it was “disgraceful” that such a short time was allowed to debate a development with major implications for Britain and its future.
David Davis, secretary for exiting the EU, said while introducing the bill: “The British people have made the decision to leave the EU and this government is determined to get on with the job of delivering it.”
“So today we have introduced a bill in parliament which will allow us to formally trigger Article 50 by the end of March. I trust that parliament, which backed the referendum by six to one, will respect the decision taken by the British people and pass the legislation quickly.”
To be called the European Union (notification of Withdrawal) Act 2017 after it is passed, the bill has two short clauses: "Power to notify withdrawal from the EU: (1) The Prime Minister may notify, under Article 50(2) of the Treaty on European Union, the United Kingdom’s intention to withdraw from the EU; and (2) This section has effect despite any provision made by or under the European Communities Act 1972 or any other enactment".
The bill is expected to be passed given the Conservative Party’s majority, but opposition parties, including Labour, have said they would table over 50 amendments, while some MPs say they will vote against it.
According to the timetable announced, the bill will have its second reading on Tuesday and Wednesday next week, with committee stage on the Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of the following week.