Politics update: more leaked Brexit papers, withdrawal bill scrutiny begins

Brexit leak number two show further issues between Britain and the EU

In the second batch of papers leaked into the hands of the Guardian newspaper, there are several expectations from EU negotiators laid out, mostly involving trade deals, with details such as VAT and customs rules taking up the bulk of the papers. However, one document, dubbed the ‘Ireland paper’, reportedly puts the responsibility of the Irish border problem solely on the UK government.

Most Irish MPs believe that Ireland will be in a better position should the UK remain in the customs union, as this would likely avoid issues with border posts becoming paramilitary targets, an issues seen in the Troubles. However this will tie the UK to trade demands from Brussels that many sought to avoid by leaving the EU.

May defends Brexit leak number one

Wednesday saw the first Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs) since Parliament’s summer recess, with Theresa May defending the government’s harder than expected stance on EU migrants, revealed via a leak of documents to the Guardian on Tuesday.

Theresa May at PMQs Prime Ministers Questions September 2017

Theresa May at Prime Minister’s Questions September 2017

The Home Office paper leaked to the newspaper laid out plans to lower the number of low-skilled migrants from Europe, by ending the free movement of labour immediately after Brexit, except for highly-skilled EU workers.

The paper, criticised as having a ‘Britain First’ tone by many, includes the following passage:

“Put plainly, this means that, to be considered valuable to the country as a whole, immigration should benefit not just the migrants themselves but also make existing residents better off,”

Yesterday it also emerged that Amber Rudd, the Home Secretary, and Damian Green, the First Secretary of State, both have “reservations” about the migration plans laid out in the documents.

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 MPs start the scrutiny

MPs are expected to begin their scrutiny of the EU withdrawal bill today, with a the first votes on the bill taking place on Monday.

The Labour Party has reportedly whipped up MPs to vote against the bill, with members of the party believing that the bill would allows government ministers to “grab powers from Parliament”, according to one Labour spokesperson.

For the past few weeks, a revolt from Conservative backbenchers has also been considered a possibility, with reports emerging that many of them have now reserved the right to amend the withdrawal bill at a later stage.

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