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Now Theresa May agrees to 'full and transparent' Brexit debate as Labour lines up 170 questions

Rebecca Smith
Theresa May has been holding her cards close to her chest on Brexit
Theresa May has been holding her cards close to her chest on Brexit (Source: Getty)

Theresa May has made a move to quell any possible Tory rebellion over her Brexit strategy by assuring that Parliament will be able to scrutinise the plan before Article 50 is invoked.

Demands have been bubbling for "a full and transparent" Commons debate and while May made the concession on Tuesday night, she has not gone so far as promising MPs a formal vote on the government's negotiating strategy.

She had recently ruled out a fresh parliamentary vote on the terms of Brexit, causing a Leave-backing MP to compare Downing Street's approach to "EU tyranny".

Read more: May rejects MPs Brexit vote as she is accused of "tyranny" by Leave backer

Keir Starmer, Labour's shadow secretary of state for exiting the EU, said:

This is a real victory for Parliament and will help ensure there is proper democratic grip of the Brexit process. There is no more important issue facing Britain than the terms of our departure from the EU. But we are now four months on from the referendum and the Government have still not told the British people or Parliament what type of deal they want to negotiate.

He stressed that Parliament needed to have a say simply to ensure "there is rigour and accountability on this vital issue".

Labour had been putting pressure on ministers to lay out their Brexit strategy to MPs in the interest of transparency, before formal negotiations go ahead. Shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry said the party would stage a Commons vote today on a motion calling for "proper scrutiny".

The Prime Minister has said the process of triggering Article 50 will start before the end of March 2017. Ahead of the debate Labour has set out 170 questions (one for each day before the end of March) for Brexit minister David Davis, including on migration and trade - as little is currently known about the government's plans on these going forward.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4, Thornberry said: "We publish 170 questions today that we expect the government to answer, at least to have some idea about, at least to have thought about, before they go and trigger Article 50."

Read more: I want to build a national consensus on our bright post-Brexit future

The Conservatives though, have said there will be "no running commentary" on their plans. May doesn't want to show all of her cards and there is the risk that her plan could be defeated by MPs should they feel it reflected a hard Brexit.

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