UK Gov't Minister Warns Of 'Chaos' If MPs Block Brexit Bill

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To vote down the bill, Labour would need to convince EU supporters in the Conservatives to side with them, but some more vocal pro-EU Conservative lawmakers have said they will vote with the government.

Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer said it was a "deeply disappointing result", arguing the bill was weak.

The Liberal Democrats, who will oppose the legislation, have urged the Labour leader to sack any frontbenchers who defy the whip or risk his party's shift towards a "softer" Brexit being exposed as a "sham".

"It is a bitter irony that Brexiteers who spent their careers championing parliamentary sovereignty have now chosen to sell it down the river", he said.

"The British people did not vote for confusion and neither should Parliament", he said.

Opponents worry the government could use the powers to water down environmental standards, employment regulations or human rights protections.

Refusing to back legislation to sever Britain's political, financial and legal ties with the European Union would be a vote for a chaotic Brexit, Britain's Brexit minister David Davis said ahead of a parliamentary vote on Monday.

Conservative rebels gave the government the benefit of the doubt in this early stage in the law-making process, but the prime minister still faces an uphill battle to get the bill, which will repeal the 1972 European Communities Act that took the United Kingdom into the European Community and later the EU, into law.

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The EU Withdrawl Bill will bring to an end the 1972 Act which saw the United Kingdom become a member of the European Economic Community or EEC. It also converts all existing European Union laws into United Kingdom law. Critics' concerns centre on ministers giving themselves the power to make changes to laws during this process without consulting MPs.

The UK government will now have to make changes to the law to assuage fears that its ministers will be given sweeping powers.

According to the draft programme, the EU Withdrawal Bill will be debated for eight days - spread between October and November - compared to the 22 days for Maastricht.

Labour, which denounced the "vague offers" of concessions, mostly voted against the bill. But Mr Lidington denied this, predicting it would result in a "significant increase" in the powers exercised by the devolved administrations. Many Conservative MPs kept silent on their objections to the bill in this round on the promise that they could provide proper scrutiny of the legislation at the committee stage.

The vote was 326 in favor and 290 against, with hours being devoted to MPs making statements on the proposals.

If the government motion setting out the time for debate is defeated, ministers will have to consider an alternative timetable.

The Conservative Party was criticised when it was revealed last week that it would seek to place a majority of Tory MPs on the committees despite lacking a majority in parliament.

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