Ministers facing rebellion over vote on final Brexit deal

The Government is facing the threat of backbench rebellion over its pledge to offer Parliament a vote on the final Brexit deal, as Tory MPs warn they are "deadly serious" about supporting an amendment to its flagship Withdrawal Bill.

David Davis

Pressure has been mounting on Secretary of State David Davis to include a guarantee on a "meaningful" vote in the forthcoming Bill after he indicated on Wednesday that MPs might not get a say until after Britain has left the EU.

Although Mr Davis was quick to row back on comments - issuing a clarifying statement later that same day - he faced a grilling by MPs after Labour tabled an urgent question in the Commons.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The debate saw MPs from across the House call for a vote to be written into legislation, with interventions from several high profile Conservative backbenchers.

Speakers included the former Education Secretary Nicky Morgan and the former Attorney General Dominic Grieve, both of whom have put their names to an amendment that would require the final deal with the EU to be approved by Parliament.

Addressing Mr Davis, Ms Morgan warned him that MPs were "deadly serious" about backing the motion and urged the Government to concede.

"There is a way for the Government to put this matter completely beyond doubt, and that is to accept the amendment seven to the withdrawal laid by (Mr Grieve)," she said.

"It would be better for the Government to adopt a concession strategy on having a withdrawal agreement secured by statute sooner rather than later for all concerned."

Issuing his own appeal, Mr Grieve added that it was "fanciful" to suggest that the EU would not grant the UK time to ratify the deal in its own Parliament

He argued it was it was necessary for both the UK and European parliaments to approve any Brexit deal "[and] the only way in which we can do that properly is by statute in this House".

Mr Davis appeared to dismiss their calls, stressing that it is the Government's "intent and expectation" that MPs will have a vote before the European Parliament.

However, nine Tory MPs have already put their names to the amendment, which would be enough to secure a defeat if the motion is selected for debate.

Earlier in the day, the Leader of the House confirmed that the EU Withdrawal Bill - which is designed to transfer all relevant EU law into UK statute - will get its second reading on November 14.

MPs have tabled just under 400 amendments the the Bill, including motions to curb controversial "Henry VIII" clauses.