Theresa May insists Brexit date WILL be set in stone as committee warns it will create ’serious difficulties’

THERESA MAY is under pressure to abandon her plans to enshrine Brexit day into law, after a committee warned it would create "serious difficulties".

Tory rebels have also threatened to vote against the Government over the issue, claiming that setting the date in stone will tie our hands with EU negotiators.

The Commons' Brexit committee said today that it could throw up huge problems if talks on our exit went down to the very last minute.

MPs said that the amendments would "remove flexibility" to set multiple days for different parts of our EU exit – such as leaving the customs union, and when UK laws will officially come onto our own statute book.

The report claimed: "This would create significant difficulties if, as the Secretary of State suggested to us in evidence, the negotiations went down to the 59th minute of the 11th hour."

Chair of the committee, Labour MP Hillary Benn, said today: "Do you want to tie your hands when you might need a bit more time to bring negotiations to a satisfactory end?

"Retaining flexibility in this is an extremely wise thing to do, considering we do want to get a good deal for the UK."

Earlier this week the Former Attorney General Dominic Grieve said the move was "mad" and refused to back down.

The Prime Minister's spokesperson insisted today that ministers would "listen to Parliament" over fixing the date in law, but that the amendment would go ahead as planned next week.

The change to the EU Withdrawal Bill will make sure we officially leave the EU on Friday 29 March 2019 at 11pm.

The spokesman said: "What the amendment does is provide certainty over our position that we are leaving the EU on March 29 2019.

"We would encourage all MPs to support it."


But ministers have hinted that it could be pulled over a lack of support and risk of defeat.

Tory rebels have tabled their own amendment – which has the backing of more than 20 Tory MPs and all the opposition parties.

Brexit Secretary David Davis said this morning that "how it's done and what the form of it is being debated in the House".

And Justice Secretary David Lidington said No10 were "listening to concerns".

The Prime Minister is set to meet pro-EU rebels next week ahead of the crunch vote to try and persuade them to come on-side. 

 

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