Theresa May faces Tory backlash over putting Brexit date in EU withdrawal bill as debate starts – Politics live

Rolling coverage of the day’s political developments as they happen, including MPs debating and voting on the first day of the EU withdrawal bill’s committee stage

The Labour MP Yvette Cooper has just given a powerful speech supporting her amendment. (See 10.36am.) In his speech the Brexit minister Steve Baker said that Cooper’s amendment would bring chaos. Cooper opened by saying the government was doing perfectly well itself introducing chaos.

Here are the main points from the opening of this afternoon’s debate on the EU withdrawal bill.

It is quite unnecessary to actually close down our options as severely as we are with this amendment when we don’t know yet [what will happen in the Brexit talks], when it is perfectly possible that there is a mutually beneficial, European and British, need to keep the negotiations going for a time longer to get them settled.

I have to say I find this amendment by the government so very strange, because it seems to me to fetter the government, to add nothing to the strength of the Government’s negotiating position, and in fact potentially to create a very great problem that could be brought back to visit on us at a later stage.

I’m told @jeremycorbyn and shadow cabinet will make common cause with Tory Remain rebels on opposing @theresa_may amendment to EU Withdrawal Bill to set hard date of March 29 2019 for Brexit – because would constrain Brexit talks. It will be key vote, for UK & PM’s future

We would like to put this issue to rest. We recognise the importance of being crystal clear on the setting of exit day, and the government is keen to provide the certainty that [Frank Field] and others are seeking.

Anyone serious about comparing this historic event to us fighting for survival in World War Two would have followed the move that Churchill made once he took over from Chamberlain. He would have moved from the ramshackle way of existing institutions and he established a war cabinet.

I believe we need a Brexit cabinet – small, with the offer to the opposition to be on it, as in war time which Mr Attlee, Mr Greenwood accepted – that we actually try and have a national interest.

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