Brexit: government to publish white paper, Theresa May tells MPs

PM refuses to say when document will be published, with Labour insisting it must come before vote on triggering article 50

Theresa May has said her plan for Brexit will be set out in a white paper, in a move designed to see off a threatened rebellion by Conservative MPs.

Government ministers previously insisted Mays plan had been set out with sufficient clarity in her speech last week.

However, leading Conservatives such as Anna Soubry, Nicky Morgan, Ken Clarke and Dominic Grieve as well as Labour, the SNP and the Lib Dems have applied pressure for a formal policy document setting out the governments negotiating aims.

May announced the U-turn at the beginning of prime ministers questions in reply to Tory MP Chris Philp.

I recognise that there is an appetite in this house to see that plan set out in a white paper, she said. I can confirm to the house that our plan will be set out in a white paper published in this house.

However, the government refused to say when it would publish the document, leading to calls from Labour for MPs to have access to the information before they are asked to vote on triggering article 50.

The government is expected to publish a bill on Thursday after the supreme court said parliament must vote on whether to trigger article 50. Opposition parties and the Tory rebels are likely to push for the white paper to be published before parliament votes on the legislation.

A Labour spokesman said: We now want to see the timing and it is clear the white paper needs to come to parliament in time for the debate … MPs have a right to be able to see what the governments plan of action is. The speech is not adequate. It set out a wish-list of options.

As weve said many times, Labour respects the decision of the British people to leave the EU and therefore will not frustrate the will of the British people. But respecting the will of the British people is very different from respecting the will of the British government. We need to see the plan and make sure the process is held to account in parliament at every stage.

May and Corbyn clash over Brexit and Trump at PMQs

Mays staged announcement appeared designed to wrongfoot Jeremy Corbyn at the start of PMQs, but he moved on to press the prime minister on the need to preserve workers rights as part of the Brexit negotiations.

The Labour leader also pressed May on her trip to see Donald Trump in the White House on Friday, urging her to guarantee she would not sacrifice parts of the NHS and public services to US companies as part of any post-Brexit trade deal.

The threat to workers rights is there every day 6 million earning less than the living wage, many people, nearly a million, on zero-hours contracts with no protection being offered by this government, he said. What theyre doing is offering, once again, the bargain basement alternative.

He added: Many have concerns that in your forthcoming meeting with President Trump you will be prepared to offer up for sacrifice the opportunity of American companies to come in and take over parts of our NHS or our public services.

Will you assure the house that in any trade deal none of those things will be offered up as a bargaining chip?

Corbyn went on to congratulate the tens of thousands of people who marched in Britain last weekend to highlight womens rights and called on the prime minster to express concerns about Trumps misogyny.

May repeated her assurance that she was not afraid to speak frankly with Trump, without giving any guarantee that she would raise concerns about some of his past comments about women, such as the video of him talking about grabbing a woman by the pussy.

Corbyns challenge on misogyny joined those from several MPs for May to raise concerns about other aspects of Trumps policies. Andrew Tyrie, a senior Tory backbencher, urged her to seek safeguards against the use of torture by intelligence agencies, and Ed Miliband, the former Labour leader, asked the prime minister to persuade Trump that climate change was not a hoax invented by the Chinese.

Angus Robertson, the SNP leader in Westminster, also called for information on the UK governments plans for a UK-US trade deal, urging the prime minister not to submit to pressure from American producers for lower food and safety standards.

Will the prime minister tell President Trump that she is not prepared to lower our food and safety standards or open health systems for privatisation, or does she believe this is the price worth paying for a UK/US trade deal? he said.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/jan/25/government-to-publish-brexit-white-paper-theresa-may-tells-mps

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s