Tuesday 17 December 2019 12:40 am

Boris Johnson to amend Brexit bill to rip out no-deal concessions

Boris Johnson will bring his Brexit bill before a new intake of MPs this week without the concessions he made before the election, City A.M. understands. 

The Withdrawal Agreement Bill – the key legislation that will pave the way for the UK to leave the European Union on 31 January – is expected to come before the Commons on Friday.

MPs will be sworn in today and Wednesday, with the Queen’s Speech taking place on Thursday.

Read more: Boris Johnson will bring his Brexit bill before MPs on Friday

The Brexit bill is thought to have been rewritten since the one that was backed at the second reading by the previous parliament, with one source saying it was not a “carbon copy”. 

However, with a majority of 80 under his belt Johnson is not expected to bring forward concessions to his Brexit bill that he suggested he would consider at the time. Those include clause 30, allowing MPs to vote on an extension to the transition period beyond 2020 if a free trade deal was not struck in time.

Boris Johnson will seek to pass his Brexit bill with no concessions
Boris Johnson will seek to pass his Brexit bill with no concessions

At the time, this so-called trapdoor promise won Johnson the much-needed support of opposition MPs and would-be rebels such as David Gauke, who feared the WAB still ultimately allowed for a no-deal Brexit.

However, with Johnson’s large parliamentary majority it is no longer deemed necessary to make concessions to get his Brexit bill through, sources indicated. 

One Conservative MP told City A.M. he was resigned to Johnson’s move away from a collaborative approach. “I am not entirely surprised, although I suspect that the future relationship with the EU may now be easier and the prospect of no deal is less possible,” he said. 

Other concessions, including one regarding workers’ rights that the PM made to members of the opposition, are also though to be destined for the scrap heap.

It is unlikely that the main scrutiny of the bill will be carried out before Christmas. Instead the Prime Minister is thought to be relaxed about the time frame to get this all important bill through before the Brexit deadline of 31 January.

Yesterday the Prime Minister’s official spokesman refused to comment on the contents of the bill. 

Read more: How Boris Johnson became the heir to Blair

He said: “You will have to wait for it to be published but it will reflect the agreement that we made with the EU on our withdrawal.”

“We plan to start the process before Christmas and will do so in the proper constitutional way in discussion with the Speaker,” he said.  

Thee government is aiming for “a Canada-style free trade agreement with no political alignment” in its talks with the EU on a post-Brexit trade deal, the spokesman added. 

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