PM's Brexit strategy 'in paralysis' amid delays

By Jon Craig, Chief Political Correspondent
Labour has claimed Theresa May’s Brexit strategy is "in paralysis" after it emerged that the legislation on leaving the EU is facing further delays in Parliament.
The Commons committee stage of the EU (Withdrawal) Bill has already been postponed once, after opponents of Brexit tabled 300 amendments and 54 new clauses.But it has now been delayed a second time and may not come to the Commons until mid-November or even after Chancellor Philip Hammond's Budget on 22 November.The latest delay comes amid Cabinet disarray over a no-deal Brexit and claims from EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier that stalling negotiations are the fault of the UK and not Brussels.
PM's Brexit strategy 'in paralysis' amid delays

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Attacking the delay in the Bill's progress, Labour's shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer said: "This is further proof that the Government's Brexit strategy is in paralysis."The negotiations are in deadlock and now a crucial piece of legislation is facing further delay."There is chaos at the heart of Government. Theresa May cannot unite her Cabinet or her party behind this deeply-flawed Bill."There are now serious questions about whether the Prime Minister can deliver Brexit."Appearing before a committee of MPs, Leader of the Commons Andrea Leadsom said the Government was still working on its response to the hundreds of proposed amendments to the Bill.
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She told the Procedure Committee: "We are still working through the proposals made through amendments to the EU (Withdrawal) Bill and the department will be responding to those once we get into the committee stages."A spokesman for David Davis's Department for Exiting the European Union also hit back at Sir Keir, declaring: "The Withdrawal Bill is an essential piece of legislation in the national interest."It is completely false to suggest that there has been a delay to the Bill as it has yet to be scheduled to enter committee stage."The process is straightforward: the Leader of the House will announce the next week's business at business questions tomorrow."
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But Labour MP Chuka Umunna, a leading anti-Brexit campaigner, said: "I am not at all surprised at this delay on the EU Withdrawal Bill - it is a badly-drafted Bill, and badly thought through."The number of amendments has given ministers a lot to think about, which shows Parliament is taking back control and is already doing its job of scrutiny well on this."Meanwhile, the Liberal Democrats' Brexit spokesman Tom Brake said the Bill's delays "make Southern Rail look punctual".He added: "It's crystal clear there is no majority in Parliament or the country for the extreme form of Brexit this Government is pursuing."
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