BREXITEER Jacob Rees-Mogg dismissed claims from Labour MP Chuka Umunna that Parliament could still delay Brexit after the Government backed down from a fight with Remainers over the European Union Withdrawal Bill.
MPs were told shortly before a key vote on the Brexit Bill that an official ministerial statement would be issued making clear it is ultimately for Speaker John Bercow to decide whether they get a “meaningful vote” on a no-deal withdrawal from the European Union.
Mr Umunna suggested that despite the new motion in place Parliament would still have the “legislative canvas” to delay leaving the bloc.
But Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg hit back saying there was no “statutory basis” for postponing Brexit.
Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Mr Rees-Mogg said: “There is no statuary basis for that and a parliamentary motion cannot simply delay Brexit.
“Our legal system works so that acts of Parliament are authoritative, not Parliamentary motions.”
Mr Rees-Mogg continued: “If you look at the Gina Miller case the heart of that was ‘could the executive exercise Article 50 by an act of the prerogative’ to which the court said no.
“It needed parliamentary approval and the courts know only of one form of parliamentary approval and that is an act of parliament.”
The concession was accepted by leading pro-EU Tory Dominic Grieve, who was greeted with jeers of “shame” from the opposition benches when he declared he would back the Government.
Speaking on Today earlier in the morning, Mr Umunna claimed that if many Brexit issues “remain unresolved” by the Autumn Parliament could use its power to slow down the process.
Mr Umunna said: “Look, Parliament has a legislative canvas.
“The five bills which have still got to complete their passage through Parliament by March next year provide MPs with the opportunity to assert Parliamentary sovereignty.
“The point is, every single member of Parliament is going to have to make quite a solemn decision at the end of this year when we will know in much more detail exactly what Brexit looks like.”
Mr Umunna added: “What members of Parliament have to do – we are not delegates, we are representatives and its how our parliamentary democracy works and people will have to put their country and constituency first, put party interests to one side.”
Theresa May may have secured a last-minute Government Withdrawal Bill victory last night, but she faces a fresh showdown with anti-EU Tories who fear further compromises with the EU will come at price for Brexit Britain.
A row is brewing as Government insiders predict the UK will opt to retain a relatively frictionless trading relationship with the EU if it agrees to stick to single market rules on manufactured goods but diverges elsewhere, such as services.
Tory Brexiteers fear Brussels bosses are looking to offer Britain access to its market goods this autumn in a bid to force Mrs May to concede on freedom of movement – a Brexit red line.