David Davis has told MPs they will get a vote on the UK’s exit deal from the EU as the government saw off an attempt to force it to reveal its Brexit plan.
The Brexit secretary told the House of Commons: “If the European Union Parliament has a vote, it’s inconceivable this House doesn’t, simple as that.” Mr Davis added that “no law will be changed without the explicit approval of Parliament”.
During a debate brought by Labour to call for publication of the government’s strategy before the EU exit process is triggered, Mr Davis likened Brexit negotiations to threading a needle.
“If you have a good eye and a steady hand it is easy enough,” he said. “If somebody jogs your elbow it’s harder. If 650 people jog your elbow it’s very much harder.”
Veteran Europhile Ken Clarke MP said the commitment from ministers was “extremely vague”. Shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer called for an early outline to allow amendments.
A potential revolt by Tory MPs was avoided when the government put forward a compromise amendment to the Labour motion, supporting Mrs May’s pledge to invoke Article 50 by the end of March.
Sir Keir was accused of “falling into a Tory trap” by Green Party leader Caroline Lucas for backing the amendment. He conceded Labour would not delay the process beyond March.