Davis clashes with Labour over key Brexit bill

By Alessandra Rizzo, Political Reporter
The Commons has begun debating the EU Withdrawal Bill, with David Davis calling the legislation vital to ensuring an orderly EU divorce and Labour lamenting that it gives unprecedented powers to the Government.
Mr Davis urged all MPs to back the bill, saying that a Labour attempt to block "the only viable option" for Brexit was "cynical and unprincipled"."The British people will not forgive them if the end of their process is to delay or destroy the process by which we leave the European Union," he told MPs.His Labour counterpart, Sir Keir Starmer, said the Bill amounted to an "affront to Parliament" and a "betrayal of what we were sent here to do".Labour has vowed to vote against the Bill on Monday night.
Davis clashes with Labour over key Brexit bill

A man dressed as King Henry VIII protests outside the Houses of Parliament
During a busy day, Mr Davis was left battling for Brexit on two fronts: at home, where he faced hostile opposition to the Bill; and in Brussels, where chief EU negotiator Michel Barnier said he was worried by the UK position on the Irish border.The EU (Withdrawal) Bill overturns the 1972 Act that took Britain into what was then the European Economic Community, and converts EU laws into UK statute book.The Government says the legislation is crucial to disentangle the country from the EU.Theresa May said it would "prevent a cliff-edge for people and businesses, because it provides legal certainty".Opponents, including some pro-Remain Tory MPs, claim it is a power grab by the Government.Much of the controversy centres on a centuries-old clause which would allow secondary legislation to be passed with little parliamentary scrutiny.
Tories will 'overwhelmingly' support Brexit bill
Ministers believe between 800 and 1,000 such statutory instruments will be required as Brexit legislation makes its way through Parliament.Mr Davis said the powers were limited, applying only to minor corrections on legislation directly linked to Brexit.
Ministers cannot use the power to create serious criminal offences, amend human rights laws or increase taxation, he added.But some of his own party's MPs are uneasy.Senior Tory Ken Clarke hinted he could vote against the Bill and force the Government "to go back to the drawing board". The Europhile former chancellor raised concerns over the so-called "Henry VIII powers".
Tory former attorney general Dominic Grieve called the bill "an astonishing monstrosity" and said he would vote against it at its third reading unless it is substantially improved.
Davis clashes with Labour over key Brexit bill

UK using Ireland as a 'test case'
The Brexit Secretary also said he did not believe it made sense to retain the EU's charter of fundamental rights after Brexit - only to be reminded by Sir Keir of a case when Mr Davis had relied on it.It was one of several remarkable exchanges in a day fraught with historical meaning, as the Commons debated the biggest change in the UK's legal system for 45 years.The Brexit Secretary, updating MPs on the status of talks in Brussels, said there was a "good prospect" of agreeing a transitional deal with the EU after Britain's membership ends.He has urged EU negotiators to show "flexibility" and begin negotiating a future economic relationship that would include a free trade deal.The EU says that cannot happen until substantial progress has been made on divorce terms, including the Irish border, the rights of EU citizens in the UK, and the amount Britain must pay to leave.In Brussels, the EU Commission published five new Brexit papers.New documents showed that Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker had questioned Mr Davis' commitment to the talks during a meeting with Mr Barnier in July.Mr Barnier said the UK's proposals for border arrangements between Northern Ireland and the Republic were "unacceptable".He also accused the Government of backtracking on its commitment to a financial settlement.Also on Thursday, between 30 and 40 Tory MPs signed a letter spelling out Brexit demands including a transition period in which Britain will be able to sign free trade deals and stop paying money to Brussels.
Davis clashes with Labour over key Brexit bill

Peel: deeply concerned about Northern Ireland
The letter, circulated among members of the Conservative European Research Group (ERG) of Brexit-backing MPs by Change Britain, also states that remaining in the single market during a transition would be a "historic mistake".The letter was intended for publication in a Sunday newspaper but was leaked.It will be viewed as an attack on attempts to soften Brexit and on Labour's position of demanding single market membership during a transition period after the UK's official exit from the EU.
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