UK Politics

Brexit white paper statement descends into farce after MPs are not given copies


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An attempt to discuss detailed plans for Brexit turned into such a shambles that sitting of the Commons had to be suspended.

A former minister could be seen throwing copies of the white paper to MPs after the document was not distributed properly.

Other MPs heckled new Brexit minister Dominic Raab about why they hadnt been given a chance to see it before he addressed them.

It led to a five minute pause while they were given it.

Sir Keir Starmer said Mr Raab had not got off to a very good start.

The Shadow Brexit secretary said: The utter shambles of the last 20 minutes that led to the suspension of the House during a statement is clear evidence of why the Government is in such a mess.

Brexit white paper statement descends into farce after MPs are not given copies

Dominic Raab addressing the Commons (Picture: Parliament TV)

He asked why the Government thought it appropriate to share the White Paper with journalists at 9am on Thursday morning, only to provide the opposition with a copy three hours later.



Labour former minister Ben Bradshaw could be seen throwing copies of the document to MPs on his own bench – at which point Mr Bercow decided to suspend sitting.

Journalists had a lock-in and were fully briefed on the Brexit White Paper ? in @DExEUgov at 9am this morning. MPs and the public wont get it until after @DominicRaab has made a statement around 1pm. Is this deliberate to try to avoid detailed difficult questions?

— Labour Whips (@labourwhips) July 12, 2018

Even after things got started properly, they were not exactly orderly.

Eurosceptic MP Jacob Rees-Mogg described the Brexit White Paper as the greatest vassalage since King John paid homage to Phillip II at Le Goulet in 1200.

Mr Rees-Mogg said: This White paper has not needed age to turn yellow. There are very few signs of the Prime Ministers famous red lines. It is a pale imitation of the paper prepared by David Davis, a bad deal for Britain. It is not be something I would vote for nor is it what the British people voted for.

Brexit white paper statement descends into farce after MPs are not given copies

Things ran as smoothly as the rest of Brexit (Picture: Parliament TV)

But Mr Raab pressed on, saying it was now up to the European Union to respond.

Now, it is time for the EU to respond in kind, we approach these negotiations with a spirit of pragmatism, compromise and, indeed, friendship, I hope, I trust that the EU will engage with our proposals in the same spirit, he told parliament.

There should be a firm commitment in the withdrawal agreement requiring the framework for the future relationship to be translated into legal text as soon as possible.

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