May 'contradicts' Davis, says Brexit deal vote should happen before exit


Brexit secretary had said the negotiations will drag on until the last minute

Just moments after Brexit Secretary David Davis said the vote in which MPs would approve any final deal could be held after the UK has dropped out of the bloc, Prime Minister Theresa May contradicted this and said it would happen “in time for Parliament to have the vote we committed to”.

Earlier today, the Brexit secretary had admitted before a Commons committee that it had always been the government’s intention that the vote would take place before the matter was considered by the European Parliament, expected to be in late 2018. He had also said the negotiations will drag on until the last minute and be “very exciting”.

The government, Davis said, was aiming to conclude all its negotiations by the time of its withdrawal: “It is no secret that the way the union makes its decisions tends to be at the 11th minute… 59th minute of the 11th hour of the 11th day and so on and that’s precisely what I expect to happen here.”

Following Davis’s comments, May was asked by Labour MP Stephen Kinnock how “it is possible to have a meaningful vote on something that has already taken place”. To this she responded: “The timetable under the Lisbon Treaty does give time until March 2019 for the negotiations to take place.”

“But I am confident because it is in the interests of both sides – and it is not just this parliament that wants to have a vote on that deal, but actually there will be ratification by other parliaments – that we will be able to achieve that agreement and that negotiation in time for this parliament to have the vote that we committed to,” May added.

Under the terms of existing EU treaties, the UK would not be able to sign a trade deal with the EU until it becomes a “third party” and has left the EU.