Brexit law passes first hurdle

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Speaking to Sky News, shadow Brexit minister Jenny Chapman said: "Labour will not block Brexit".

MPs have reacted to the Brexit bill clearing its first hurdle as the United Kingdom seeks to make its own laws.

The Government is seeking to grant itself a majority on the selection committee - the body which chooses the make-up of MPs on the standing committees that scrutinise legislation - another step which the opposition parties have labelled a "power grab".

However, the Labour leader suffered a rebellion by a number of Labour MPs representing areas which voted to Leave the EU.

But for the sake of our democracy, I voted against the bill.

Seven Labour MPs defied Jeremy Corbyn's order to oppose the bill, and no Conservatives voted against it. He said: 'This is a deeply disappointing result.

Some want assurances that the government will not misuse its power, others want to make sure the protections of certain workers rights are also written into the bill before allowing it to move to the unelected upper house of parliament.

The devolution settlement is based on the principle that everything is devolved to the Scottish Parliament unless it is reserved to Westminster.

"It will make the Brexit process more uncertain, and lead to division and chaos when we need unity and clarity".

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She told Radio Four's Today programme: "I believe Labour's job is to improve this bill, not kill it as it begins its passage through parliament".

"But the flaws are so fundamental it is hard to see how this Bill could ever be made fit for goal".

Parliament is due to hold a late-night vote on whether to let the central plank of Britain's Brexit plan - the European Union withdrawal bill - move to the next stage of the law-making process.

Hilary Benn, the Labour MP who chairs the Brexit select committee, said: "The Government was left in no doubt by the two days of debate that it's going to have to change this Bill".

In the first round of voting, Labour attempted to win their amendment that would have wrecked the Brexit Bill.

Speaking during the debate, Derek Thomas, the Tory MP for St Ives, said the draft legislation was the "only game in town" to achieve a "smooth" Brexit by March 2019, but suggested changes could be made to the bill at a later stage and it should not hand ministers and their civil servants "the freedom to do as they please".

Remain campaigner Stephen Kinnock warned that "power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely", adding that May was attempting to grab a unsafe level of power to rewrite or scrap long-standing laws and rights.

The Bill transfers European Union law into United Kingdom law but the Welsh and Scottish Governments are angry that powers in areas which are devolved, such as fishing and farming, will be kept in London instead of being passed on.

Arch-Brexiteer Peter Bone said: "I would be very surprised if this bill finishes up in exactly he same format at the end... it seems to me the government will be well advised to accept the reasonable amendments that improve the situation".

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