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Both Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn face key tests this evening with MPs set to vote on the Government’s controversial EU Withdrawal Bill.
Labour leader Mr Corbyn has ordered MPs to vote against the legislation, branded a “power grab” by ministers.
However senior backbenchers have warned that opposing it would be seen by many constituents, particularly those who voted Leave, as Labour seeking to torpedo Brexit.
Meanwhile Theresa May has faced a growing Brexit revolt on Monday as Tory MPs accused ministers of smuggling cuts in workplace rights under cover of the Withdrawal Bill.
The Bill, which will end the supremacy of EU law in the UK, is being debated in the Commons with a vote expected to take place at about midnight on Monday.
The Liberal Democrats plan to vote against the legislation, while the government has the support of the Democratic Unionist Party.
Speaking ahead of tonight’s debate, Brexit Secretary David Davis insisted the Withdrawal Bill “ensures that individuals and businesses will continue to be able to find redress when problems arise”.
Meanwhile Labour shadow Keir Starmer accused the Prime Minister of “a blinkered approach” and a “refusal to accept the deficiencies of the Bill”.
But a defiant stance against her leader, former Labour minister Caroline Flint argued on Monday that defeating the bill, which will transpose EU legislation into British law, would cause “huge problems”.
She told BBC radio: “I do believe that in respecting the outcome of the referendum, in respecting what I said to my electors in the general election just a few months ago, it is important that we get on with the job of making sure we can have as smooth an exit from the EU as possible.”
The revolt against the Labour leadership was particularly among MPs in the North and Midlands whose constituencies saw a majority backing Leave.
However, shadow Brexit minister Jenny Chapman defended the leadership’s stance and denied that it was obstructing Brexit having voted for Article 50.
She said: “The Government has chosen to engage in a huge power grab. It does not need to do that. It just needs to bring forward a sensible bill.”
And Theresa May faced a growing Brexit revolt on Monday as Tory MPs accused ministers of smuggling cuts in workplace rights under cover of the Withdrawal Bill.
It would take just six to rebel on an amendment for Theresa May to lose her working majority in the Commons.
Former Attorney General Dominic Grieve, one of the most respected legal minds in parliament, said the Bill broke the Government’s commitment to copy EU rights exactly into British law.
He said that although Conservatives will vote with the Government in tonight’s key vote in the Commons, there could be a rebellion on the Third Reading vote if the Bill was not “substantially amended”.
It is feared that, unless amended, the legislation would delete the ability to seek redress in UK courts for breaches of rights protected in Europe, including on gender equality, privacy and data protection.
Mr Grieve told the Standard: “It is important that the Government does what it said it was going to do – which is to incorporate EU law without attempting to cut corners or tinker with it in ways that would remove people’s protection.”
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