Tory MPs considering rebellion over Theresa May’s refusal to publish Brexit plan

Dominic Grieve, the former attorney general, says it is of the “utmost importance” that MPs see the proposals

Sunday 29 January 2017 14:02
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Prime Minister Theresa May
Prime Minister Theresa May

Tory MPs are reportedly considering a rebellion over Theresa May’s refusal to publish a Brexit plan before the vote to trigger Article 50.

Several MPs have told the Government they will need to publish a “White Paper” on their intentions for the negotiations so it can be questioned about its priorities.

The legislation to invoke Article 50 is set to be debated in the House of Commons this week and a rebellion could potentially derail the Government’s plans.

Dominic Grieve, the former attorney general, said it was of the “utmost importance” that a plan is put forward within a couple of weeks.

“I remain of the view that it is of the utmost importance that Parliament should have a White Paper, certainly before it debates committee stage of the Article 50 Bill,” Mr Grieve told The Telegraph. “I believe that such a White Paper will be very helpful to the Government in getting parliamentary support.”

A second Tory MP added: “Clearly we want to see the White Paper as early as possible in the Article 50 Bill debates so we can comment on behalf of our constituents on the Government’s objectives. We're pretty sure ministers get that link.”

Although Downing Street has agreed to publish a White Paper it has not yet named a date for when this will be released. Some have argued publishing information about the plans would give EU countries an advantage during the negotiations.

The debate on invoking Article 50 will commence this week and an initial vote will take place on Wednesday. A final binding vote will occur the following week and both Labour and the Tories have ordered their MPs to vote in favour of the legislation.

Nevertheless a total of 18 rebel Labour backbenchers have endorsed a motion to throw out the bill before it reaches its second hearing.

The motion argues the Government has not safeguarded British interests in the single market.

The Independent has approached The Conservative Party for comment but none had arrived at the time of publication.

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