Bill to enforce Brexit defeated in Commons by SNP and Labour

SNP economy spokesman Stewart Hosie led opposition to the Bill. Picture: PA

SNP economy spokesman Stewart Hosie led opposition to the Bill. Picture: PA

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A proposed law enforcing Brexit has been denied permission for further debate in Parliament following opposition from the SNP and Labour.

Conservative Charlie Elphicke insisted the “mandate of the masses” given to the Government to take Britain out of the European Union should be acted upon as soon as possible to deliver “security, stability and certainty”.

He sought to bring in the European Union (UK Withdrawal From Membership) Bill, arguing this would allow - among other things - MPs to “endorse and accept” the June 23 referendum result.

The Dover MP added his proposal was also an opportunity for Labour MPs to reject leadership hopeful Owen Smith’s desire for a second referendum while the SNP could show it was not the “Scottish Neverendum Party”.

• READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon: UK faces “lost decade” with Brexit

But SNP economy spokesman Stewart Hosie led opposition to the Bill, arguing no-one could support it when Prime Minister Theresa May is unable to explain what will happen to the single market and financial services upon Brexit.

The Bill, which stood little chance of becoming law but could have been scheduled for further debate, was denied permission to be introduced to the Commons by 179 votes to 50 - majority 129.

Moving his plan, Mr Elphicke told MPs: “The House knows that the position of the Government is very clear: Brexit means Brexit and we will make a success of it.

“Also, Brexit means Brexit and we need to get on with it. I think it’s very important that we understand, agree and endorse the position that the matter of Article 50 is a matter for the Prime Minister alone.

“She has the mandate of the masses given to the Prime Minister and the Government on June 23 and it is right she invokes it.

“I hope the sooner she invokes it the better so we have the security, stability and certainty we need as we seek to build a post-Brexit Britain.”

Mr Elphicke added: “I say to the SNP, who don’t seem to like the result of any referendum that is held in these isles at all, don’t be the Scottish Neverendum Party.

“Accept first the decision of the Scottish people by overwhelming majority, an overwhelming turnout to remain part of the United Kingdom, and secondly to accept the decision of the British people as a whole that this country, this nation, this United Kingdom seek a future outside the European Union.

“I’d say to them they’d be wrong to think that ‘If at first you don’t succeed, vote again’ should be their motto. That would be the wrong approach to take.”

• READ MORE: David Davis rules out Westminster vote on Brexit

Ending “uncontrolled EU immigration” should be a “red line” for the Government as part of the Brexit talks, Mr Elphicke said.

In reply, Mr Hosie said he respects the “outcome of those nations who voted to leave the EU”.

He added to Mr Elphicke: “Perhaps you and your colleagues should respect the wishes of those nations who voted to remain in the EU.

“It’s always sweet to be chided by you, who I think railed against the ‘jet-set elite’, who talked about the imbalance in boardroom pay.

“We don’t need to leave the EU and destroy our opportunities to tackle imbalance in boardroom pay.”

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