Brexit: EU Withdrawal bill ‘won’t be debated this month’

The EU withdrawal bill may not be taken in the House of Commons until after Autumn, according to Labour sources.

Whilst initially the bill was expected to be on the table next week, it is likely it will be left off next week’s parliamentary timetable altogether. 

The shadow Brexit secretary, Keir Starmer, used this delay to question Theresa May’s capability in handling Brexit. 

“This is further proof that the government’s Brexit strategy is in paralysis. The negotiations are in deadlock and now a crucial piece of legislation is facing further delay,” he said.

“There is chaos at the heart of government. Theresa May cannot unite her cabinet or her party behind this deeply flawed bill. There are now serious questions about whether the prime minister can deliver Brexit.”

Andrea Leadsom, the leader of the Commons, told MPs last week of the difficulty in drafting the new bill.

Leadsom said there had been “300 amendments and 54 new clauses”, adding that it was “taking a bit of time to have proper, thoughtful, well-considered responses”.

Labour’s Chuka Umunna said:  “I am not at all surprised. It is a badly drafted bill and badly thought through. The number of amendments has given ministers a lot to think about, which shows parliament is taking back control and already doing its job of scrutiny well on this.”

The delay will mean that the government might find it difficult to make time for the eight days of debate that is required before Christmas. The budget is due November 22.

“The withdrawal bill is an essential piece of legislation in the national interest. It is completely false to suggest that there has been a delay to the bill as it has yet to be scheduled to enter committee stage. The process is straightforward: the leader of the house will announce the next week’s business at business questions tomorrow,” said a spokesperson from A Department for Exiting the European Union.