The British parliament will get to examine and vote on any final Brexit deal, the government said on Monday.
It’s a concession to Conservative Party rebels, who have demanded more power over the process and threatened to stall with a sea of amendments a key bill that Britain needs to actually sever ties with the EU.
“I can now confirm that once we’ve reached an agreement we will bring forward a specific piece of primary legislation to implement that agreement,” UK Brexit Secretary Davis told MPs.
“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.”
Brexit Minister David Davis made the announcement just as the House of Commons was preparing to debate on Tuesday the bill on Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union.
The EU Withdrawal bill aims to both end Britain’s EU membership and transfer EU law into British law. Critics say the bill as it stands gives the government too many powers, and lawmakers have proposed 186 pages of amendments.
Hurry up please
Earlier in the day, business leaders from both sides of the English Channel urged May to accelerate talks on Britain’s exit from the EU as uncertainty about future trade relations threatens jobs and investment.
May met with 15 business groups at her Downing Street office, asking them to support her Brexit strategy and persuade companies not to move overseas.
Executives have urged her government to speed up the Brexit talks to start negotiating a new trade deal with the EU.
“Business is extremely concerned with the slow pace of negotiations and the lack of progress,” said Emma Marcegaglia, president of BusinessEurope, a lobby group that speaks for companies in European countries, including Britain.
The EU has refused to discuss trade until there is “sufficient progress” made on Britain’s financial obligations, citizens’ rights and the Irish border.
May wants to agree with the EU the broad outline of a so-called implementation period of around two years after Britain’s exit from the EU in March 2019. During that period, its access to the EU single market would remain largely unchanged while new arrangements were put in place.
Carolyn Fairbairn, director general of the Confederation of British Industry, said all the businesses at the meeting warned May about the damage leaving without a trade deal could do.
“We now need to move beyond warm words if jobs, investment and living standards are to be protected,” she said.