Today is the final day of Commons debate on the article 50 bill. We will get another debate, and votes, on amendments, and then the third reading.
Yesterday Theresa May managed to minimise a Tory rebellion by promising a Commons vote on the Brexit agreement before it is finalised. Sir Keir Starmer, the shadow Brexit secretary, welcomed this as an important concession although, as our splash story says, other MPs, including some of his Labour colleague, said it was no such thing because May was just offering a ‘take it or leave it’ vote which would be meaningless because if MPs did vote against, the UK would crash out of the EU anyway with no preferential terms.
On the Today programme this morning Starmer rejected that claim. He put forward two arguments as to why the ‘take it or leave it’ analysis was wrong.
- Starmer claimed that May would have to rethink her Brexit deal if the Commons rejected it. Even though David Jones, the Brexit minister, told MPs in the debate yesterday that the government would not try to renegotiate its deal if it were rejected by MPs, Starmer said in practice this would happen.
Of course nobody can predict what’s going to happen in 2019. But, firstly, the idea that the prime minister in two years comes back with a deal which doesn’t have the confidence of the House of Commons is worth reflecting on …
And, secondly, the idea that if that is the case the prime minister would seriously say in 2019, ‘Well, rather than go back and…