BORIS JOHNSON is “flexing his muscles” after his storming general election victory by stripping out three key clauses from his Brexit Bill in order to assert his Government’s dominance over Parliament, a political analyst has said.
The European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill 2019-20 will go before the House of Commons tomorrow, and Graeme Cowie, a clerk at the House of Commons library who specialises in Brexit, was quick to highlight three important omissions – clauses 30, 31, and 34. Clause 30 would have allowed the Commons to rule out a further extension to the transition period, due to end on December 31, 2020 by forcing Mr Johnson to seek its approval for such a move.
Clause 31 would similarly have allowed Parliament oversight of the future trading relationship between the UK and the bloc.
Equally significant is the jettisoning of Clause 34, which was tabled in January by former Labour MP John Mann and others, adding words to the effect the Government should invite Parliament to consider any new workers’ rights adopted by the EU post-Brexit.
Professor Tony Travers, director of LSE London, commenting on the tweaks to the legislation, told Express.co.uk: “What we have got here is Boris Johnson, boosted by a sizeable majority, taking the opportunity to shift power from Parliament to the Government.
“Which is in fact what the whole struggle was about in the first place.
“By reshaping the withdrawal bill that the Government is putting before Parliament, Boris is flexing his muscles, effectively.
“He can demonstrate to Parliament who is in control here.
“What he is doing is doubling down on the previous Withdrawal Bill.
“It underlines the point that he is now in a very powerful position.”
Speaking during the Queen’s Speech debate, Prime Minister Mr Johnson told MPs: “Tomorrow is the day that we finally peel back the plastic wrapping – about which you’ve heard so much, Mr Speaker – and present our oven-ready deal and it’ll go into the microwave as the Withdrawal Agreement Bill.
“It works in both devices, this deal.”
Mr Johnson said he hoped pushing ahead with Brexit will “clear the way for an overarching programme of national renewal”, before highlighting plans to invest in the NHS”.
Conservative MPs cheered as the Commons agreed to sit tomorrow to consider the legislation.
The Bill will be debated at second reading before the Commons breaks for Christmas.
Shadow Commons leader Valerie Vaz said the Bill will be scrutinised by Labour and looked at “in the best interests of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland”.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who will whip his MPs to vote against the Bill, warned: “We understand that people are desperate to move on.
“That does not mean we will just accept the Prime Minister’s reckless approach on how it’s done.
“He has now deliberately resurrected the threat of no deal at the end of next year which would decimate industry and destroy people’s jobs.
“That threat is now written into the Withdrawal Agreement Bill.”
What he is doing is doubling down on the previous Withdrawal Bill