Don’t put Brexit talks at risk warns North West Norfolk MP Sir Henry Bellingham

Conservative MP Sir Henry Bellingham in the House of Commons. Picture PA Wire.

Conservative MP Sir Henry Bellingham in the House of Commons. Picture PA Wire. - Credit: PA

MPs planning to derail the Brexit bill would put negotiations with the European Union at risk, according to a Norfolk MP.

Sir Henry Bellingham said any politician, from any party planning to table amendments during this week's second reading of the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill would not be acting in the best interests of the country.

MPs will begin debating the bill – also known as the Great Repeal Bill – on Thursday. But Sir Henry, has warned that attempts to scupper its progress through the House of Commons would be dangerous.

'Any attempts made to slow down or ruin this bill would have a huge impact,' the North West Norfolk MP said. 'It would make negotiations harder.

'Our negotiating partners need to see that we are united. The smooth passage of this bill will do that and ensure a smooth transition out of the EU.

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'I think we are all keen to get the best deal possible and no-one should do anything to harm the negotiations. Happily I am sure that members from all parties are clear on that and I look forward to the debate and the bill moving on.'

The second reading of a bill as its passes through the House of Commons offers an opportunity to debate the main principle of the proposals. Large scale amendments are more common at the committee and report stages. Bills then move on to a third reading and final vote.

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But Sir Henry does believe the Government might have to concede some ground as the Bill reaches its later stages.

'The Government might have to make some concession – perhaps on the transition,' he said. 'But those are not issues for the second reading. That will come.

'As it stands I am hopefully – and reasonably confident – that no-one is going to play party politics with it. Wrecking it could cause all kinds of things to happen and I do not think many MPs – even those on the Labour benches – want another general election so close to the last.'

One Tory Remainer, former minister Anna Soubry, said that although she believes no Tories will vote against the bill Government whips were being aggressive. She said: 'This bullish attitude that if you don't fall into line and get behind something you're going to be thwarting the will of the people ... has got to stop.'

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