The Conservative Party is to take control of a powerful Commons committee after a crucial motion was passed by a majority of just 19 late last night, giving them the ability to scrutinise Brexit legislation without wider parliamentary input.
The motion, brought by Commons leader Andrea Leadsom, has been described by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn as a way of rigging the parliamentary system after the Tories found a work-around for navigating the Brexit process with a minority government.
Traditionally, minority governments do not hold a majority on the Committee of Selection, as to do so would be to effectively override the result of a general election.
But with parliament needing to preside over thousands of laws and regulation to prepare the UK for its exit from the European Union, the EU Withdrawal Bill has been designed to allow for new laws and regulations to be passed via controversial legislative device called a statutory instrument, which are debated in tiny standing committees.
Liberal Democrat Chief Whip Alistair Carmichael commented: “This is a sinister power grab by an increasingly authoritarian Prime Minister.
“The Tories didn’t win a majority at the election, but are now hijacking Parliament to try and impose their extreme Brexit on the country.
“It is a bitter irony that Brexiteers who spent their careers championing parliamentary sovereignty have now chosen to sell it down the river.
“This wilful eroding of Parliament’s ability to scrutinise legislation sets a deeply worrying precedent.
“It is now incumbent on all MPs to work together to hold this government to account.”
Theresa May was accused of turning Brexit into a power grab by her own Conservative MP Anna Soubry in the first PMQ’s after the summer break last week.
Nottinghamshire Conservative MP Soubry, who has previously very publicly spoken out against Brexit, immediately stated her ‘very serious concerns’, saying she had fears that there will be no parliamentary democratic scrutiny for decades of legislation and rights that Theresa May will replace with her own laws.
Good call, Soubry.