In a major concession, the Theresa May government on Tuesday said parliament will get to vote on the final Brexit deal reached with Brussels before it is sent to the European Union, throwing up several possibilities at the end of the two-year exit process.
The concession was announced as MPs prepared to vote on a bill seeking to authorise May’s government to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty that sets out the two-year exit process. The vote was expected to get a smooth passage after the concession.
David Jones, minister in the Department for Exiting the EU, told the House: “First of all we intend that the vote will cover not only the withdrawal arrangements but also the future relationship with the European Union”.
“Furthermore, I can confirm that the government will bring forward a motion on the final agreement to be approved by both Houses of Parliament before it is concluded, and we expect and intend that this happen before the European parliament debates and votes on the final agreement”.
It is known that most members of the House of Commons and House of Lords are against Britain leaving the EU. It was not immediately clear what will happen if parliament voted against the final deal reached by the government at the end of the two-year process in 2019.
Jones hoped that the terms of the final deal will be good enough for parliament to agree to it, but the concession opened up a range of possibilities, including parliament eventually deciding not to leave the EU.
Voting on the bill authorising the government to trigger Article 50 was scheduled to be put to vote on Tuesday evening. Prime Minister May has announced the process will be initiated by the end of March.