Cross-party MPs organise parliamentary vote on Government’s Brexit negotiating principles

A group of senior cross-party MPs will join forces to organise a debate and a vote in Parliament calling for the Government to publish the outline of their negotiating principles before Article 50 is triggered.


Former Leader of the Labour Party Ed Miliband, former Liberal Democrat Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, and former Conservative Minister Nick Herbert will in the coming weeks table a motion in the House of Commons to have a backbench debate. They will be joined by MPs from different parties across the House, including Labour Shadow Secretary of State for Exiting the EU, Keir Starmer MP, and Leave supporting Conservative MP Stephen Phillips, in tabling a substantive motion that will be voted on.

The motion will call for the Government to publish a substantive outline of their negotiation plan – the equivalent of a government White Paper – and for this to be agreed by the House of Commons prior to negotiations with the EU commencing.

Commenting for the Open Britain campaign, Ed Miliband MP, said:

“The referendum was a mandate for Brexit but there is no mandate from the referendum for a hard, destructive Brexit. This is not about overturning the result but giving Parliament a say in determining the terms of our departure from the EU.

“This transcends party politics – for voters and politicians. This is about the national interest. As it negotiates our EU exit, the Government must be held to account by Parliament for the biggest decisions we will take in a generation about our economy and place in the world.

“Scrutiny and debate are essential if the Government wants to carry the country with it and have a national consensus in these most difficult of negotiations.”

Commenting for the Open Britain campaign, Nick Clegg MP, said:

“It's absurd that Brexiteers who have spent years condemning the lack of accountability of the EU are now seeking to marginalise Parliament on some of the most important decisions in a generation.

“The Government should not take decisions that will have massive economic consequences, like leaving the Single Market, without seeking Parliament’s approval.

“David Davis previously advocated a pre-negotiating White Paper and has always championed Parliamentary sovereignty. The Government must now respect that by committing to a debate and a vote in Parliament on their negotiating position.”

Commenting for the Open Britain campaign, Nick Herbert MP, said:

“No-one is arguing to delay or frustrate the referendum decision, but hard Brexit ideologues are determined to pull Britain out of the Single Market regardless of the damage to our economy and with minimal scrutiny.

“It's deeply ironic that those who campaigned to restore parliamentary sovereignty are now so adamant that parliament should have no say over the biggest change this country will make in a generation.”

Keir Starmer, Shadow Secretary of State for Exiting the EU, added:

“The Government have now finally conceded that there needs to be proper scrutiny of their plans for Brexit. That is a real victory for Parliament.

“Now they need to take the next step and guarantee the House of Commons will have a chance to vote on the basic terms of Brexit before Article 50 is invoked.

“Anything less would be side-lining Parliament on the defining issue facing Britain.”


Just before he became Secretary of State, David Davis wrote about his preference for seeing a ‘pre-negotiation White Paper’ published: