MPs may not vote on any Brexit deal until after it has come into force, Jacob Rees-Mogg suggests

Parliament could be asked to ‘retrospectively correct’ domestic law, with New Year’s Eve deadline fast approaching

Brexit briefing: How long until the end of the transition period?

MPs may not vote on any Brexit deal until next year, after it has come into force, Jacob Rees-Mogg has suggested.

Parliament could be asked to “retrospectively correct” domestic law to recognise the agreement, with the New Year’s Eve deadline fast approaching, the Commons Leader said.

Mr Rees-Mogg admitted the move would be hugely controversial, saying “if anyone took it to court I think you would find yourselves in considerable difficulties”.

But he added: “Normally, you would expect a treaty to be ratified before it comes into force, but if both sides accept that ratification is done in a different way that is theoretically possible.”

The comments come as the two sides inch closer to an agreement, after stepping back from the brink of settling for a no-deal by extending their talks on Sunday.

The EU is believed to have diluted its threat of so-called “lightning tariffs” if the UK cuts its state aid, labour or environmental standards in future, gaining an economic advantage.

The UK has agreed to arbitration, but the two sides are yet to agree on the process for that, or what body would arbitrate – and it is unclear if the threat of unilateral tariffs has been dropped altogether.

 In his regular ‘Moggcast’, Mr Rees-Mogg vowed: “Parliament will not be an obstacle to ratification.”

He told the interviewer that reaching the agreement was “what the two sides agree the ratification process should be”.

And he added, of the need for domestic law to catch up with the international treaty: “You could retrospectively correct it.

“You could I suppose, theoretically, ignore the law for a week – but that’s pretty unconstitutional territory and if anyone took it to court I think you would find yourselves in considerable difficulties.”

Ideally, there would be six days of debate in the Commons and the Lords between a deal being signed and it receiving Royal Assent, but the process could be “truncated”.

The scenario is becoming more likely because there are just 16 days until the UK leaves the single market and customs union – with the Christmas holidays intervening.

The clearest sign of whether a deal is moving closer will come when Mr Rees-Mogg announces, on Thursday, whether he will require the Commons to sit next week.

That would spark controversy, with the SNP warning it is “not safe" for MPs to travel to Westminster over the Christmas period.

It wants all MPs to be allowed to take part in Commons business virtually, because of the health risks posed by travelling during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The Health Secretary stood at the despatch box yesterday and said there was a new strain of Covid and people shouldn't travel to Tier 3 areas - to a room full of people who had done exactly that,” said Patrick Grady, the SNP chief whip.

“If there is any possibility of the House sitting next week, or being recalled over Christmas, there has to be virtual participation for everyone because it's not safe to travel and given the East Coast Main Line is going to be closed - it's not going to be possible for most people to travel.”

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in