Britain’s minister for leaving the European Union has warned MPs that voting against the legislation to end the UK’s membership in the EU would amount to backing a “chaotic” withdrawal from the union.
“The British people did not vote for confusion and neither should Parliament,” Britain’s Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union David Davis said on Monday, referring to the EU referendum in June last year when nearly 52 percent of Britons opted to leave the 28-member bloc.
Davis said “a vote against this bill is a vote for a chaotic exit from the European Union.”
Lawmakers are scheduled to vote on Monday night or early Tuesday on the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill for the first time.
The legislation would repeal the 1972 European Communities Act and convert directly-applicable EU laws and regulations into UK law. It is designed to incorporate about 12,000 EU laws and regulations into UK statute in March 2019 when the country leaves the EU.
Prime Minister Theresa May’s government says the bill, designed to disentangle Britain from more than 40 years of EU lawmaking, is the first step in implementing last year’s EU referendum.
The Labour Party says it backs Brexit but says it will vote against the bill as it stands because it represents a “power grab” by giving the government the ability to amend the EU laws as they are transferred without proper scrutiny. But some sources estimate around a dozen could rebel against Jeremy Corbyn’s orders and vote in favor of the bill.
The Liberal Democrats, who are also voting against the legislation, have called on the Labour leader to sack the lawmakers who defy the whip or risk his party’s shift towards a “softer” Brexit.
“Providing certainty and stability in the lead up to our withdrawal is a key priority,” Davis said.
“Businesses and individuals need reassurance that there will be no unexpected changes to our laws after exit day and that is exactly what the repeal bill provides,” he added.
“Without it, we would be approaching a cliff edge of uncertainty which is not in the interest of anyone,” he continued.
“That’s why I’m urging all MPs of all parts of the UK to come together in support of this crucial legislation so that we can leave the European Union safe in the knowledge that we are ready for day one of exit.”
A number of Conservative MPs have expressed concern over the bill but they are expected to back it after the conclusion of second reading.
Pro-EU Conservative lawmaker Ken Clarke said the government would have to water down “powers that Henry VIII would have been delighted by.”
“I think Parliament will be sensible to get them to write it to make sure there’s not the possibility of using powers that no government’s ever tried to take,” he told Sky News.