UK government launches fresh push to pass Brexit bill

The UK Government yesterday introduced its landmark Brexit bill, which enshrines the new deal it has negotiated with the EU in UK law.

If passed, the Brexit bill would abolish the backstop in the old deal. It also means the UK would leave the EU Customs Union whole and entire, a step that was agreed with the European Council last week. The EU (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill puts those internationally agreed obligations into domestic law.

This week MPs will have the chance to pass this bill which would allow the UK to leave the EU with a deal. While the government says that this would allow the country to move on and for the Government to return its focus to delivering on the people’s domestic priorities: investing in the NHS, tackling serious and violent crime, and levelling up funding on schools – many MPs are sceptical with regards to the deal, and the bill’s safe passage is far from assured.

The Government says that the Brexit bill will implement the new deal agreed with the EU in UK law:

– Delivering Brexit, with a deal, on 31st October;

– End vast annual payments to Brussels;

– Protect the integrity of the UK as we leave the EU, without the need for the backstop;

– Protect the rights of EU, EEA and Swiss citizens in UK law so that they can continue to live, study and work in the UK; and

– Secure an implementation period to give businesses continuity and greater certainty as they prepare for the change in relationship we will have with the EU.

“The Prime Minister has successfully negotiated a great new deal without the anti-democratic backstop which many said would be impossible,” said Steve Barclay, Brexit Secretary.

“MPs and Peers today have in front of them a bill that will get Brexit done by 31st October, protect jobs and the integrity of the UK, and enable us to move onto the people’s priorities like health, education and crime.

“This is the chance to leave the EU with a deal on 31st October. If Parliament wants to respect the referendum, it must back the bill.”

However, Labour’s shadow Brexit secretary, Sir Keir Starmer, accused ministers of trying to “bounce” MPs into approving a bill that could cause “huge damage” to the country, while Shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry said Labour was “outraged” by the government’s attempt to push the bill through in a short time.

Article published 22nd October 2019