Recess officially ended last week. Now all the UK’s MPs are piling into parliament for meetings, debates and PMQs after a long summer away.
Today, the two houses will vote on the EU (Withdrawal) Bill, colloquially known as the Brexit Great Repeal Bill.
Timeline for Brexit
- January 15, 2019
The legislation aims to bring European Union laws into British legislation. This will sever the UK’s political, legal and financial ties with Brussels. Parliament will spend the day debating the bill, before a late-night vote tonight shortly after midnight.
Here’s what to expect from tonight’s vote.
David Davis is warning MPs who want to vote against the bill
The Brexit secretary, David Davis, has warned MPs that voting against the bill is a vote for a “chaotic exit” from the EU.
“Businesses and individuals need reassurance that there will be no unexpected changes to our laws after exit day and that is exactly what the repeal bill provides. Without it, we would be approaching a cliff edge of uncertainty which is not in the interest of anyone,” Davis said in a statement.
Labour has said it will vote against the bill unless the government introduces concessions.
Despite this, it’s likely the bill will go through
This is one of the first major tests for the Conservative minority government. It is likely that UK prime minister Theresa May will be able to get through her Brexit Great Repeal Bill.
She has the support of the Democratic Unionist party and a lack of opposition from her own party. If no Conservatives decide to rebel, May should have the 328 votes she needs to pass the bill.
However, there are likely to be a few amendments added on to the Brexit Great Repeal bill once it gets to the committee stage.
Will the Brexit Great Repeal Bill have any amendments?
Concerns have been raised by the opposition over the so-called “Henry VIII powers” that will be enshrined in the bill. This allows ministers to make changes to existing laws, without going through the normal parliamentary, and scrutiny, process.
In addition, it is thought that government ministers will ensure that Conservative MPs make up the majority of parliamentary committees that will scrutinise the post-Brexit draft laws. Labour has criticised this, by saying it goes against the convention that committee panels reflect the spread of views in parliament.
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We’re still worrying over the EU customs unions
A report published today by the Institute for Government has said that leaving the customs union will cost British traders more than £4bn a year.
This is because customs declarations are likely to be imposed at the UK border after Brexit.
Questions could be raised today about the government’s plans for the UK once it leaves the customs union.
Joe Owen, senior researcher at the Institute for Government, said:
“The UK Government is only one of many players who need to be ready if disruption is to be minimised on day one after Brexit. But the problem is that everyone from port operators to small traders can only undertake limited preparation while future arrangements are so uncertain.
“When it comes to customs, business faces a canyon, not a cliff edge. Disruption can be caused from either side of the border. We are reliant on the successful preparation of our European partners too.”