UK government confident of winning vote on Brexit legislation: spokesman

UK government confident of winning vote on Brexit legislation: spokesman

Up to 30 Labour MPs met with Keir Starmer, the shadow Brexit secretary, to express their reluctance to oppose the withdrawal bill. Liberal Democrat Brexit spokesperson Tom Brake called it "a dark day for the mother of Parliaments".

In a challenge to their leader's Brexit plan, the rebel MPs want to ensure the United Kingdom retains the EU's charter of fundamental rights and require that a final deal with the European Union be approved by parliament.

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

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who instructed his MPs to vote against the bill, had called it a government "power grab" but seven Labour MPs ignored his three-line whip (strongest-possible request) to vote it down.

Brexit minister Steve Baker said that the government would "look with the utmost seriousness" at the potential amendments to the bill that have been proposed by MPs.

Mr Corbyn has imposed a three line whip ordering his MPs to vote against the bill, which aims to transfer European laws onto the United Kingdom statute book on the day Britain quits the EU.

The European Union (Withdrawal) Bill aims to convert around 12,000 EU laws and regulations into United Kingdom domestic laws on the day Britain leaves the bloc in March 2019.

It is alleged the bill would give the government too much power to change laws after Brexit. But many legislators branded the bill a government power grab, and vowed to change it before it becomes law.

Nigel Huddleston, MP for Mid Worcestershire, said there had been "no great surprises" in the debate which had continued until the early hour of the morning.

Following the vote, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is expected today to continue his recent move away from his earlier Euroscepticism, with a call for the United Kingdom to remain within the single market.

"It is not a logical, or essential, part of any Withdrawal Bill that new limitations are placed on the Scottish Parliament's powers, on the National Assembly for Wales's powers, or on the powers of the Northern Ireland Assembly".

Brexit minister David Davis said earlier: "A vote against this bill is a vote for a chaotic exit from the European Union". But Mr Lidington denied this, predicting it would result in a "significant increase" in the powers exercised by the devolved administrations.

May also faces another key vote Tuesday to ensure the government has a majority at committee stage.

The bill passed with 326 votes in favor and 290 against.

He added: "We have shown today that where there is good reason to extend debate further we are willing to consider that very seriously and carefully indeed".

There will be three votes at the close of debate at midnight on Monday night - on Labour's "reasoned amendment", on the main second reading motion, and on the programme motion that limits the committee stage to 64 hours over eight days.

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