UK lawmakers will get a take-it-or-leave-it vote on the final Brexit deal, with their choices limited to accepting the agreement or voting for a chaotic crashing out of the block. And if the government fails to reach a deal, the UK will leave without consulting Parliament, Brexit Secretary David Davis said.
The twin announcements provoked jeers in Parliament as what started out as a concession to a restive House of Commons, was quickly revealed
to be a meaningless gesture.
Several lawmakers, including Labour’s Pat McFadden, said they would be voting with a gun to their heads.
Further restricting lawmakers’ leeway in the final stages of Brexit, the government wants to write into law the date that Britain will leave. Designed as a concession to most enthusiastic Brexit supporters in the divided Conservative Party, proposal would mean there’s no way Bri-tain could ask for an extension if talks fail to produce a deal.
Dominic Grieve, a former attorney general and colleague of Prime Minister Theresa May who is now opposing the government’s Brexit policy, called the proposal “thoroughly stupid” as he said it would tie the government’s hands in negotiations. Davis blamed Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, the mechanism for departure, for why an extension would be difficult.
“The extension of article 50 can only be done by unanimity and that’s the weakness of it,” he said. May is walking a political tightrope, trying to appease both Brexit hardliners and those in her party who want to maintain close ties to the EU.