‘Straightforward’ Brexit bill to be introduced on Thursday: Secretary of State exiting the EU


David Davis has told parliament the government will publish a “straightforward” Brexit bill within days after a significant ruling by the supreme court.


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The secretary of state for exiting the EU said he would respond quickly to judges’ demands to give MPs and peers a vote in parliament but warned that the “point of no return” for Brexit had already been passed.

“This does not change the fact that the UK will be leaving the European Union,” he said.

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Davis said the legislation would be narrow, focusing only on the question of triggering article 50, and warned that it must not be used as a “vehicle for attempts to thwart the will of the people, or frustrate or delay the process of our exit from the European Union”.

“This will be the most straightforward bill possible to give effect to the decision of the people and respect the supreme court’s judgment,” he added, stressing that it was not about whether the UK would leave the EU, because that had been decided by the vote of more than 17 million people.

“So there can be no going back. The point of no return was passed on 23 June last year.”

Davis said government lawyers were scrutinising the long judgment, but made clear he remained confident that article 50 would be triggered by the deadline of the end of March.

“This timetable has already been supported by this house,” he said, saying the legislation would be separate to the ‘great repeal bill’.

Davis was urged by Brexiters in parliament to keep the legislation short and quick, but was also pressured by opposition figures and MPs on his own side to publish the government’s Brexit plan as a white paper in order to allow further scrutiny.

Ministers have claimed May’s Brexit speech at Lancaster House was an adequate plan.

The shadow Brexit secretary, Keir Starmer, said: “Labour accepts and respects the referendum result and will not frustrate the process. But we will be seeking to lay amendments to ensure proper scrutiny and accountability throughout the process. That starts with a white paper or plan.

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