Steve Beasant

Liberal Democrat Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Great Grimsby and Councillor for the East Marsh Learn more

MPs must get vote on mandate for Brexit trade talks – Lib Dems

by Steve Beasant on 18 December, 2017

The Liberal Democrats have demanded that MPs be given a vote on the government’s negotiating mandate for post-Brexit trade talks.

It comes following a meeting of Theresa May’s ‘Brexit war cabinet’ today, where divisions emerged between senior ministers over what a final trade deal should look like. It is understood Michael Gove said Britain should leave the Common Agricultural Policy and Common Fisheries Policy during the transition period.

The Liberal Democrats have written to the Prime Minister and Brexit Secretary David Davis calling for MPs and Peers to be given a vote on the stance UK negotiators will adopt in talks with the EU on a future trade relationship.

This would be a logical consequence of last week’s government defeat on the EU Withdrawal Bill, where an amendment was passed giving MPs a meaningful vote on the final deal struck with the EU.

Liberal Democrat Brexit Spokesperson Tom Brake said: 

“The government will be playing with fire if they try to bypass Parliament and hammer out a deal without consulting MPs from the outset.

“The final Brexit deal will impact on people’s rights, jobs and living standards for years to come.

“Britain’s position in these historic talks should be decided by Parliament as a whole, not by Cabinet Ministers thrashing out their differences behind closed doors.

“If Theresa May refuses to give MPs a say on the negotiating mandate, she’ll be setting herself up for defeat when she comes back with a final deal.

“Ultimately, we must ensure the British people too get a vote on the final deal.

“This decision is too important to be left to the likes of Michael Gove and Boris Johnson, who are more interested in their future careers than the future of the country.”

Notes

The text of the letter sent to the Prime Minister and David Davis today is below:

Dear Prime Minister and Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union

We are writing to request that both MPs and Peers are granted debates and votes, in Government time, on the negotiating stance the UK negotiating team will adopt at the talks with Mr Barnier on our future trade relationship. These talks are expected to start in March.

Such a vote would be the logical consequence of the vote last week, which secured a meaningful vote for MPs on the deal struck with the EU before our possible departure.

An early vote on the UK’s negotiating stance, endorsing the UK government’s position or requiring it to be revised, would also increase the chance of the government winning the vote on the final deal.

This vote would also reinforce the message that the vote on the 23rd June 2016 was indeed about the UK taking back control.

We look forward to your positive response.

Yours sincerely

Tom Brake, Liberal Democrat MP Carshalton and Wallington and Spokesperson on Brexit

Baroness Sarah Ludford, Liberal Democrat Europe Spokesperson in the House of Lords

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