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MPs clash over major Brexit bill debate

Thursday, September 07, 2017 - 02:15

British lawmakers have exchanged barbs over new legislation known as the EU withdrawal bill, set to repatriate powers to the UK. But as they've argued the EU's chief negotiator has lobbed his own critique at the British government. Jacob Greaves reports.

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British lawmakers are debating a bill that aims to deliver on the Brexiteers' promise of independence from Brussels. (SOUNDBITE) (English) SHADOW BREXIT SECRETARY, KEIR STARMER, SAYING: "So much for taking back control" But Labour's Brexit spokesman is among those to say it might just hand too much power to ministers instead. The EU withdrawal bill aims to end the supremacy of EU law - converting it into UK legislation. Opposition parties call it a power grab by government that overrides parliamentary oversight, and some Conservatives agree: (SOUNDBITE) (English) CONSERVATIVE MP, KEN CLARKE, SAYING: "If the government isn't going to move in the next two days of debate, well I think we may have to force it to go back to the drawing board and try again" On Thursday the governmentM represented by Brexit Secretary David Davis, gave this defence, in at times rowdy exchanges. (SOUNDBITE) (English) BRITISH BREXIT SECRETARY, DAVID DAVIS, SAYING: "This does not aim to change law this aims to maintain, it is primarily technical in that respect and aims to mantain the laws we currently have." The first vote will take place Monday - and it would only take a few rebels to defeat the government. Prime Minister Theresa May short of a majority since June's election, and dependent on support from some Northern Ireland lawmakers. Next up, the unelected House of Lords will have their say. And picture the process this law will unleash. Some 40 years of EU rules being reinterpreted for the UK. And only about 18 months to go before exit day. Meanwhile the real debate - between the UK and the EU - is gathering pace. The back and forth between negotiators David Davis and Michel Barnier so far producing few solutions, but plenty of barbs. On Thursday, Barnier shot down Britain's position on Northern Ireland EU BREXIT NEGOTIATOR, MICHEL BARNIER, SAYING: "The UK wants to use Ireland as a kind of test case for the future EU, UK customs relations. this will not happen." Just the latest rejection for the government's Brexit efforts. And more seem likely to come - both across the aisle, and across the English channel.

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MPs clash over major Brexit bill debate

Thursday, September 07, 2017 - 02:15