The Prime Minister and Brexit Secretary have appealed to rebel backbench MPs to vote with the government on the EU Withdrawal Bill to avoid the risk of undermining negotiations.
The Commons will vote later today on whether MPs should have a decisive vote on the final deal agreed between the UK and EU in the autumn, but the government does not want MPs to be able to hold them to account.
Davis said Parliament would be involved in the process but MPs could not undue the 2016 referendum. However, with the vast majority of both Leave and Remain voters agreeing that the government’s negotiating strategy has been a failure, MPs across the aisle have started to have doubts about whether a satisfactory deal will be possible.
Davis’ comments follow Theresa May’s pleas Tory backbenchers on Monday to “think about the message Parliament will send to the European Union”.
The government’s plans to overturn all the amendments added to the Withdrawal Bill by the Lords in a single day without the normal scrutiny and discussion has already resulted in the resignation of Justice Minister Philip Lee, who said he could not support “how our country’s exit from the EU looks set to be delivered”.
In his resignation letter, Lee said:
“The practicalities, logistics and implications of leaving the EU are far more complex than was ever envisaged and certainly more complex than the people were told in 2016. The UK is not going to be ready in time, neither is the EU, and both would suffer from a rushed or fudged agreement.
“The outcome that is emerging will be neither fully to leave the EU, nor fully to stay. This is not an outcome for which anyone knowingly voted. In my view, this raises the important principle of legitimacy: I do not believe it would be right for the Government to pursue such a course without a plan to seek a confirmatory mandate for the outcome. And I believe that Parliament should have the power to ask the Government to adjust its course in the best interests of the people whom its Members represent.”