Theresa May has warned Tory rebels that giving Parliament a meaningful vote on Brexit will “incentivise” the European Union to offer the UK “bad deal”.
The Government is on Tuesday facing a second defeat in the Lords as peers back an amendment calling for Parliament to be given a meaningful vote on the Prime Minister’s final Brexit deal.
The amendment would result in Parliament being given the power to stop Mrs May from walking away from the EU without any deal at all.
More than a dozen Tory peers are expected to rebel against the Government in the Lords while more than 20 Tory MPs are prepared to rebel over the issue in the Commons – more than double the number that previously voted for it.
However, the Prime Minister’s official spokesman warned that the move would “weaken” the Government’s hand in negotiations.
He said: “On the issue of the meaningful vote we shouldn’t commit to any process that would incentivise the EU to offer us a bad deal.
“If we are in a position where any deal negotiated by the Prime Minister could be rejected by MPs obviously that gives strength to the other parties in the negotiations.
“Our view is that this should be a simple bill in relation to triggering Article 50.
“It will be a meaningful vote. But what we don’t want to do is commit to anything that would weaken our hand in negotiations.”
The spokesman added that the Prime Minister has been clear that no deal is better than a bad deal.
It came as a leaked document raised fears that the Government will implement the final Brexit deal as part of the Great Repeal Bill.
An official from the Brexit department was photographed carrying classified documents, which said: ” You agreed to take a power in the Great Repeal Bill to implement the agreement via secondary legislation, but that any important changes should be implemented via primary legislation.”
It also revealed Mr Davis had “queried whether there needed to be a legal distinction between the withdrawal and new relationship agreement.”
Robin Walker, a Brexit minister, said on the Conservativehome website: “If we were to pretend, contrary to the wording of Article 50 itself, that the whole process could simply be reversed at the last minute, or that Parliament could say no to a deal and return us to the status quo before the referendum, it would only serve to incentivise the most negative and aggressive approach from our negotiating counterparties.
“This would be profoundly against the interests of a good negotiation and the UK national interest.”
He added: “Waiting to trigger Article 50 until after the UK could prepare and set out its strategy was the right thing to do.
“We are in consequence better prepared, better informed on the needs of business and all sectors of the economy, and we have built up a better understanding of the steps that need to be taken during and through the process to secure the best outcome for the UK.
“Delaying the Bill, complicating it or making elements of it justiciable would however be profoundly damaging not only to the UK, but to the whole prospect of a future partnership between the UK and the EU.
“We need to get on with negotiating, to show our counterparts that our approach and our requests are reasonable, and to reassure millions of people living on both sides of the Channel.
“The straightforward passage of this Bill, already supported by a majority of five to one in the Commons, is the best way to achieve those aims.”