Taking Back Control: How Parliament Is Flexing Its Muscles on Brexit
(Bloomberg) -- British members of Parliament are flexing their muscles to take control of the Brexit process, using obscure tools and maneuvers to do so.
While the focus of attention in Parliament on Tuesday will be the vote on whether ministers are in contempt for refusing to publish legal advice, a vote later in the day could be more significant to the way in which Britain leaves the EU. Conservative rebel Dominic Grieve has proposed an amendment that would mean that if, as everyone expects, May’s deal is rejected, Parliament will be able to vote on what should happen next.
If the deal fails, then May has to set out her alternative plan, and Parliament has then been promised a debate -- but not a vote -- on that, probably in January. Grieve, who is anti-Brexit, proposes allowing the motion of that debate to be amended, meaning there could be alternative proposals and votes on them.
When politicians assert, as Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd recently did, that Parliament wouldn’t allow a No Deal Brexit, the reply has been “how will it stop it?” This week we’re seeing part of the answer. Ministers are facing an unprecedented vote on whether they’re in contempt of Parliament. Members are maneuvering to give themselves more access to the levers of power. Veteran politicians like Grieve -- who led the campaign to make sure Parliament got to vote on the Brexit deal in the first place -- are using their long-honed skills as lawyers and parliamentarians to lead the way.
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