PARLIAMENT will get a make-or-break vote on the full details of any Brexit deal, David Davis vowed last night.
In a surprise announcement, the EU Exit Secretary guaranteed that MPs and peers will approve the full terms of Britain’s future arrangements with Brussels, including a final multi-billion pound “divorce” fee.
If they vote down the legislation which would enshrine any agreement in UK law, Britain will quit the EU without a deal.
Mr Davis unveiled the plan for an Act of Parliament to write the terms of a future EU deal onto the statute book in a concession to rebel Tories threatening to wreck the separate EU Withdrawal Bill due to be debated this week.
It followed pressure from MPs on both sides of the Commons for greater parliamentary scrutiny of the outcome of the Brexit negotiations.
Mr Davis said: “It’s clear that we need to take further steps to provide clarity and certainty both in the negotiations and at home, regarding the implementation of any agreement into United Kingdom law. I can now confirm that once we have reached an agreement we will bring forward a specific piece of primary legislation to implement the agreement.”
He added: “This confirms that the major policy set out in the withdrawal agreement will be directly implemented into UK law by primary legislation, not by secondary legislation with the Withdrawal Bill.
“This also means that Parliament will be given time to debate, scrutinise and vote on the final agreement we strike with the European Union.
“This agreement will only hold if Parliament approves it.”
Mr Davis also warned MPs that voting down his proposed legislation will not stop Britain’s expected departure from the EU in March 2019.
Instead, any rejection or amendment of the Bill would mean the UK leaving the bloc without a trade deal.
Whitehall sources expect a deal to be concluded by October 2018 with the parliamentary votes to follow soon after.
They also said the move was designed to accelerate the Brexit talks by signalling to Brussels that the Government is serious about guaranteeing the settlement rights of EU citizens already living in the UK.
Last night Tory MPs threatening to amend the Bill welcomed the Government’s latest concession.
But they warned that ministers had not gone far enough to reassure them over the use of sweeping powers dating back to the reign of Henry the Eighth to change the law.
Former Tory minister John Penrose said: “If they can agree to this level of Parliamentary scrutiny for the Act of Brexit then, logically, they should also be willing to accept limits on their Henry the Eighth powers, too.”