Opposition parties propose a series of amendments to Boris Johnson's Brexit bill

PUBLISHED: 08:29 07 January 2020 | UPDATED: 08:38 07 January 2020

Boris Johnson's Brexit plan would harm Britain's economy, experts have warned. Picture: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire.

Boris Johnson's Brexit plan would harm Britain's economy, experts have warned. Picture: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire.

Boris Johnson's Brexit deal will return to the House of Commons on Tuesday as he aims to ensure the UK leaves the EU by the end of the month.

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MPs returning from their Christmas break will start three days of debate on the Withdrawal Agreement Bill, with opposition parties proposing a number of amendments to the bill.

Labour has tabled an amendment to the WAB requiring ministers to seek a two year extension to the transition period, to the end of 2023, if there is no agreement by mid June.

Other amendments tabled by Labour include a bid to protect the right of unaccompanied child refugees to be reunited with their families after Brexit.

It follows the decision by ministers to remove the so-called "Dubs amendment", intended to ensure child refugees could still rejoin their families in the UK after free movement ends, in the wake of the Conservatives' election victory.

The SNP meanwhile has tabled a series of amendments intended to strengthen the rights of EU nationals living in the UK.

Immigration spokesman Stuart McDonald said: "It is vital that opposition parties back the SNP in protecting the rights of our fellow EU nationals who have made Scotland and the UK their home and who now face being plunged into further instability.

"We cannot allow this reckless, right-wing Tory government to push ahead with its Brexit plan which risks inflicting hostile environment 2.0 - this time on EU nationals who live and work in the UK, including in our vital NHS."

The Liberal Democrats have said they will press for an amendment requiring the government to hold a public inquiry into the conduct of the 2016 EU referendum.

The bill has already cleared its first Commons hurdle, passing its second reading vote before Christmas with a majority of 124.

The government now wants it to complete its remaining stages in the lower House by the end of business on Thursday.

It would then go to the Lords next week, with ministers confident it can conclude its passage through parliament in time for it to be ratified by the European Parliament by the end of the month.

With a Commons majority of 80 it is expected that Johnson will be able to comfortably pass the bill.

Should the bill pass it would mean the UK leaving the EU on January 31 with a deal, marking the start of an 11-month transition period, during which the UK will continue to follow EU rules, while negotiations take place on a free trade agreement.

Senior EU figures, including chief negotiator Michel Barnier, have warned that completing a deal in such a tight time-frame is likely to prove impossible.

However Johnson has been adamant he will not seek any extension to the transition period, raising fears among opposition parties that Britain could be heading for a no-deal Brexit at the end of the year.

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