Chancellor Philip Hammond warns backbenchers against Brexit revolt

Catherine Neilan
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Philip Hammond has urged potential rebel backbenchers not to upset the passage of the EU Withdrawal Bill, as it reaches the second reading stage this week.

The chancellor, who is today visiting Manchester and Leeds, told reporters that it was "not the time" for Tory MPs to voice their concerns about the Brexit bill.

“I would say to backbenchers (lawmakers) who are thinking about seeking to amend or delay the withdrawal bill, that now is not the time to disrupt this vitally important piece of enabling legislation,” he said.

“This piece of legislation is a vital enabler, giving the government the flexibility to deal with the changes that will have to be made as we leave the European Union and hopefully forge a new partnership with our European neighbours beyond that.”

The repeal bill is to be debated in parliament this Thursday, before being put to a vote next Monday (September 11). Given the government's slim majority there are fears that Labour could derail the bill's passage, following the party's recent policy shift.

However, Eurosceptic Tories have indicated that they are not minded to revolt - at this stage. Two senior figures told City A.M. last week that they would not allow Jeremy Corbyn the chance of a victory, while Remain-supporting Conservative Anna Soubry told the BBC no Tory MP would vote against the bill next week, describing threats made by party whips as an “absolute nonsense”.

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