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Opposition leaders must unite against Brexit date amendment

The Liberal Democrats have written the following open letter to opposition party leaders urging them to oppose a Government amendment to the EU Withdrawal Bill that would enshrine an arbitrary Brexit date into UK law.

Dear Leader

We are writing to urge you to reject the Prime Minister’s cynical attempt to deny Parliament its right to a meaningful vote on the deal the UK strikes with the EU.

By seeking to set an arbitrary UK departure date from the EU of the 29th March 2019, the PM is curtailing the UK Parliament’s right to consider any deal and, if necessary, vote for the Government to resume negotiations and potentially, if it was in the UK’s interests, to seek an extension to the Article 50 negotiations.

Parliament must not be bounced by a ploy that is all about Tory party management and nothing to do with Britain’s interests. Furthermore this move weakens the UK Government’s negotiating stance, as the EU would know the UK was tied by a firm deadline, putting extra pressure on the UK to settle disadvantageously.

We hope we can count on your support in opposing the PM’s amendment.

Yours sincerely

Vince Cable, Liberal Democrat Leader

Tom Brake, Liberal Democrat Brexit Spokesperson

Ahead of the first Commons votes on the EU Withdrawal Bill tomorrow (Tuesday 14th November 2017) Liberal Democrat Leader Vince Cable said:

“This is a naked attempt by Theresa May at a stitch-up which would deny Parliament’s right to a meaningful vote on the Brexit deal. The Prime Ministers’ ploy proves once again that Brexit is not about Parliament regaining control of our laws, it is about a small clique of Brexiteers imposing their will on the majority. Nor can the Government hide behind the ‘will of the people’.

In voting for Brexit, the public did not vote for an arbitrary and potentially damaging exit date which is all about Tory party management and nothing to do with Britain’s interests.”

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