The Government has conceded to Labour’s attempt to force Prime Minister Theresa May to publish the Government’s negotiating plan for Brexit, confirming that it will do so prior to triggering the Article 50 process in March 2017. Keir Starmer, the shadow Brexit secretary for Labour, had put forward a motion for debate today to demand more details about the Government’s strategy. Up to forty Conservative backbenchers had threated to vote with Labour in the debate.
Mrs May has however tabled an amendment to the motion, calling for MPs to respect the wishes of the referendum vote, and agree to triggering Article 50 before the end of March 2017. The SNP is the only party who has confirmed they will vote against the amendment, as it would tie them into approving the triggering of Article 50 without having seen the Government’s negotiation plan. Labour said it would back the timetable, but wanted scrutiny of Brexit plans. Mr Starmer, who will lead today’s debate, called the amendment “a welcome and hugely significant climbdown from the Government”. Labour will be pushing for the Brexit plan to be published in January.
The Government has not however agreed providing any specific form of document, with some reports warning that ministers could only offer a line or two of information about the Government’s negotiating strategy. Pro-remain MPs, including some Conservative backbenchers, will today demand the plan constitutes a detailed policy document which fully outlines the form of relationship Britain will seek with the EU.