May wins first 5 votes on EU withdrawal bill in committee despite Tory backlash over fixing Brexit date – as it happened

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

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.

Let us suppose our own negotiators wish an extension, it is curtailing the flexibility and room for manoeuvre of our own negotiators.

I can only see downsides in terms of the government losing control of one of the levers it could use to control the negotiations.

The final vote was that clause 6 stand part. That went through by acclamation, meaning there was no need for a division.

And that’s it. Day one of the committee stage is over. Only seven more to go.

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