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- Nick Clegg tells BI he fears the government will give Parliament an incomplete Brexit deal to vote on.
- “The government’s clear intention is to try and lull parliament into signing away the future before it has spelled out what that future holds,” the former deputy PM told BI this week.
- The former Lib Dem leader also attacked “pathetic” Labour for failing to scrutinise the government and said he hasn’t taken criticism of his imminent knighthood “too seriously.”
LONDON – The former deputy prime minister Nick Clegg has accused the government of attempting to sideline Parliament by planning to put an incomplete Brexit deal to the vote on at the end of Article 50 talks.
In December MPs passed an amendment calling on Theresa May’s government to give Parliament a “meaningful vote” on the Brexit withdrawal deal agreed by British and European Union negotiators.
The amendment, tabled by Conservative MP Dominic Grieve, was designed to ensure the government will have to secure parliamentary approval before signing off any final Brexit withdrawal deal.
However, Clegg told Business Insider that he expects Parliament to be shown an incomplete deal lacking key details on issues like the Irish border, trade and customs arrangements.
“I don’t think the government has any intention of completing the next phase of talks before it invites MPs to make a judgement,” the former Liberal Democrat leader told BI this week.
“And that would be a scandalous dereliction of democratic duty to expect MPs to vote on a deal which will be composed of little more than the fudge on the Irish border included in this December package, some warm words about the future, and maybe a little bit more detail on aspects of that future.”
He added: “The government’s clear intention is to try and lull parliament into signing away the future before it has spelled out what that future holds.”
BI spoke to the former MP for Sheffield Hallam at an event hosted by anti-Brexit group, Islington In Europe.
At the event, Clegg said he was unphased by the negative reaction of some figures to recent news of his imminent knighthood.
“You can hardly call it a backlash when the entirely predictable people don’t share my views on things and criticise,” he said.
“The Daily Mail is never going to agree with my worldview and neither is Owen Jones. I don’t take it too seriously.
“I was included in the honours because of the work I did as deputy prime minister and I remain immensely proud of what me and my team succeeded to do in providing stability to the country at a time of immense turbulence and difficulty.
“It doesn’t really affect my pride in what we achieved that there are people on either side who want to snipe.”
He also attacked the “absolutely pathetic” Labour Party for failing to capitalise on the Tory government’s dithering over Brexit.
“Labour should be 20% ahead. A good opposition would kill this government in a week,” he said.