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Labour says it will oppose Brexit repeal bill over 'power grab' fears

07 September 2017

"But as democrats we can not vote for a Bill that unamended would let government ministers grab powers from parliament to slash people's rights at work and reduce protection for consumers and the environment".

"Starting the new parliamentary session with the Withdrawal Bill shows that it is now the job of all MPs, including my former colleagues on the Stronger In campaign, to respect the will of the people and get the best possible deal for Britain", he said.

"Ministers have already said they don't want this bill to be a "power grab", so I'm sure they will listen and bring forward their own changes as the bill goes through Parliament". "It would allow the government to seize control from the parliament that the British people have just elected".

Prime Minister Theresa May warned lawmakers on Saturday that Britain could be faced with a Brexit "cliff edge" if they fail to back her European Union repeal bill, as reports suggest momentum is growing within the ruling Conservative party to unseat her.

The legislation, which Theresa May once called the "Great Repeal Bill", has two main functions.

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With Labour planning amendments, and requesting wholesale changes to the Repeal Bill, including allowing for the United Kingdom to remain in the single market and customs union indefinitely, rebellious Conservatives could wreak havoc.

The government's refusal to bring the European Union charter of fundamental rights into domestic law is also a point of contention.

Labour will call on Prime Minister Theresa May to make a series of changes including allowing parliament to replicate any new European Union laws on employment rights, the environment and consumer protection, The Times reported, citing a letter sent by Labour's Brexit spokesman to minister David Davis.

Remainers among the Conservatives signalled that they will not vote against the Bill over the next week but could rebel at later stages.

Lawyers have described the Bill, which Jeremy Corbyn has ordered Labour MPs to vote against, as the biggest change in the UK's legal system for 45 years.

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But in a move that would irk many Eurosceptics, May is preparing to pay a Brexit divorce bill of up to 50 billion pounds ($65 billion) to the EU, The Sunday Times reported, citing an unnamed source.

May is expected to update her position on Brexit in a speech in the second half of September.

But it contains a number of highly controversial provisions, including for new laws to be made via "statutory instrument" meaning parliament will not be able to debate or vote on them.

A United Kingdom official told the Financial Times September 21 was "definitely wrong" with no final date yet chosen for the speech.

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Labour says it will oppose Brexit repeal bill over 'power grab' fears