Government rushing through Brexit Bill is ‘a contempt of Parliament’

PUBLISHED: 17:50 26 January 2017

A copy of the Bill to trigger article 50, in front of the Houses of the Parliament in London.

A copy of the Bill to trigger article 50, in front of the Houses of the Parliament in London.

PA Wire/PA Images

The Article 50 legislation paving the way for Theresa May to start the Brexit process is to be rushed through the Commons within a fortnight.

The Article 50 legislation paving the way for Theresa May to start the Brexit process is to be rushed through the Commons within a fortnight.

The European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill will face its first test next week, with debates on Tuesday and Wednesday.

But MPs reacted with anger after it was confirmed that the detailed scrutiny stages - where dozens of amendments are expected to be considered - will be allocated just three days, with the Bill expected to clear the Commons on Wednesday February 8.

Talking to The New European, Remain campaigner Professor AC Grayling, master of New College of the Humanities said: “The Government’s action in rushing through a Bill to trigger Article 50, in advance of a White Paper objectively examining all the costs and consequences of a ‘Brexit’ and comparing them to remaining in the EU, is a contempt of Parliament, a contempt of the spirit of the Supreme Court judgment, and a contempt of the British people, only a quarter of whom voted to leave the EU. We are being subjected to a de facto coup against our Parliamentary democracy and this is wholly unacceptable. MPs can and should defuse this dangerous moment by voting against the Bill and demanding a full White Paper first.”

The legislation, which has just two clauses including the description of its short title, is “straightforward”, the Department for Exiting the European Union said.

Brexit Secretary David Davis said: “The British people have made the decision to leave the EU and this Government is determined to get on with the job of delivering it.

“So today we have introduced a Bill in Parliament which will allow us to formally trigger Article 50 by the end of March.

“I trust that Parliament, which backed the referendum by six to one, will respect the decision taken by the British people and pass the legislation quickly.”

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