UK PM pleas for unity as MPs prepare to debate crucial Brexit bill
LONDON, Sep. 3 (Xinhua) -- British Prime Minister Theresa May urged her MPs Sunday to support a crucial Brexit bill coming before the parliament this week as politicians return following the summer recess.
On Wednesday, May faces her first question time in the Commons since the latest round of negotiations in Brussels over Britain's departure from the European Union.
On Thursday, May faces a tough test when members of parliament debate the government's repeal bill, aimed at converting more than 40 years of EU laws into British law when the two part company in March, 2019.
May described the Repeal Bill as the single most important step Britain can take to prevent "a cliff-edge for people and businesses".
Conservative party managers fear a number of the party's pro-European MPs could threaten the bill by supporting amendments and attacks from the main opposition Labor Party.
Following the snap general election in June, May lost her overall majority, making a confidence and supply agreement with the small Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) of Northern Ireland to prop up her administration.
It would only take a small number of Conservative rebels to scupper any legislative proposals in parliament.
First Secretary of State Damian Green warned a rebellion by some Conservative MPs would increase the threat of a Labor government led by Jeremy Corbyn.
Writing in the Sunday Telegraph newspaper Green said: "Few political debates have been as divisive as the European one. I fought as hard as I could on the Remain side, but I believe strongly that as a democrat I should respect the result (of the EU referendum), and that as a politician it is my duty to make the Brexit settlement as good as possible."
Brexit Secretary David Davis said a crunch point in the Brexit process comes in the week ahead, in Westminster rather than Brussels.
Writing in the Sun of Sunday newspaper, Davis said: "Our hard work for the negotiations abroad is matched by the preparation we are doing for the UK to adjust to Brexit.
"This is especially true of the Repeal Bill, which goes before MPs this week. The bill is crucial. It delivers the result of the referendum by ending the direct role of the EU in UK law, and gives British lawmakers control for the future.
"Whether you voted Leave or Remain, the negotiations are vital for the future of every citizen and business in the United Kingdom," wrote Davis.
Davis accused Corbyn's Labor Party of threatening to delay and defeat an essential piece of legislation.
"Their only motivation is the pursuit of chaos. The uncertainty our exit from the EU would cause without legal continuity is only matched by the instability of Labor's position on Brexit," said Davis.
"This week the eyes of the country will be on parliament. We will be judged on our willingness to work to deliver the verdict people gave in last year's referendum," Davis added.
Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer warned Sunday the Labor party will vote against the Repeal Bill if it is not amended to allow Britain to remain in the single market after Brexit.
Starmer said in an interview on a Sunday political program on the BBC: "Whilst we accept the result of the (EU) referendum, we are not giving a blank check to the government to do it in whatever way it wants because it is not in the public interest."
Ahead of this week's crucial debate Starmer wrote to Brexit Secretary Davis demanding wholesale changes to the legislation, including Britain remaining in the single market, customs union and under the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice during any Brexit transition period.
The Conservatives have 316 seats in the Commons, with the 10 DUP seats taking May's total to 326. Labor and the other parties have 323 seats, but this includes 7 Sinn Fein Party MPs who refuse to sit in the House of Commons, extending May's potential margin to 10 votes.