Tory MPs pile pressure on Theresa May to publish full Brexit plan before Commons vote on triggering Article 50

'The passage of the Bill will be swifter if a white paper is published' - former Education Secretary Nicky Morgan

Rob Merrick
Deputy Political Editor
Tuesday 24 January 2017 15:05 GMT
Nicky Morgan
Nicky Morgan (Getty)

Conservative MPs have piled pressure on Theresa May to publish a full Brexit plan – one suggesting the triggering of Article 50 will be held up if she refuses.

A string of Tory backbenchers urged the Prime Minister to produce a fully fleshed-out white paper before the vote to start the Brexit process.

One, Nicky Morgan, went further, pointing out that the Commons had voted only last month in favour of being given that plan – with Government support – and hinting at trouble ahead.

That vote was on a motion which first revealed that the Commons is likely to back Ms May’s timetable for invoking Article 50 by the end of March.

Ms Morgan, a former Education Secretary, said: “When Parliament voted for the motion in December it was not just in relation to the 31st of March deadline – it was also in relation to the publication of a plan.

“The passage of the Bill will be swifter if a white paper is published and debates happen on that too – and the Article 50 process is separate.”

The same call was made by four other former Cabinet ministers – Dominic Grieve, Anna Soubry, Alistair Burt and Ken Clarke.

However, the MPs – with the exception of Mr Clarke – either stated they would vote for Article 50, or are expected to do so.

The Tory unease was laid bare as David Davis, the Brexit Secretary, made a statement following the Supreme Court’s ruling that MPs must approve the invoking of Article 50.

In reply, Mr Davis said, repeatedly: “We will provide as much information as we possibly can, subject to not undermining our negotiating position.”

The December motion committed Ms May to “publishing the Government’s plan for leaving the EU before Article 50 is invoked” - but stopped short of demanding a full white paper.

Ministers have made no clear they have no plans to publish one, arguing the Prime Minister’s speech, last week, was the plan.

However, Labour has said it will attempt to amend the Article 50 legislation to force a white paper, “along with robust impact assessments”.

Join our commenting forum

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


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