May clashes with MPs over Brexit ratification

Theresa May has repeatedly dodged calls to guarantee MPs a binding vote on the final Brexit deal before it is formally ratified.

The Prime Minister faced down heated appeals to respect the Government’s defeat on an amendment to its flagship Brexit law, peering sternly over her glasses during a grilling on Wednesday.

She refused five times to answer former sparring partner Yvette Cooper’s question on if Parliament would get a vote in primary legislation on the divorce deal before EU leaders pass it themselves.

Instead she said MPs would have “had their say” on the agreement by voting through the withdrawal agreement Bill.

Labour MP Yvette Cooper

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It follows a group of Tory rebels helping pass an amendment to the Brexit Bill giving Parliament the power to veto any deal reached with the EU.

The PM also clashed with Mrs Cooper over whether camera equipment installed on the Northern Ireland border constituted “physical infrastructure”.

Mrs May said she would “not give a running commentary on every aspect as we go into negotiations on this matter”, only re-stating her commitment to no hard border.

“A camera is a camera – it’s physical,” Mrs Cooper interjected, in scenes reminiscent of the former home secretary and shadow home secretary’s historical clashes.

The Labour MP ended her limited questioning time at the Liaison Commitee by branding the answers “baffling”.

Video: ‘Virtual cameras’: MPs slam May over NI border

Labour MP Ian Murray, speaking soon after in the Commons chamber, accused the PM of “refusing to fully commit to abiding by amendment 7” – the proposal passed last week.

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While Mrs May’s comments prompted MP Heidi Alexander to ask the Government to rule out challenging the amendment at a later date.

Brexit minister Steve Baker told her he was “not expecting to return to it”.