Tories accused of ‘subverting democracy’ by not tabling Brexit debates

House of Commons

Labour has accused the government of “effectively subverting democracy” after an announcement of coming government business made no mention of any major Brexit-related legislation to be debated in the House of Commons.

Announcing the Commons schedule for the next fortnight, Andrea Leadsom, the leader of the house, gave no timings for the return of the EU withdrawal bill from the Lords, or any news on three other key Brexit-connected bills.

The inaction will reinforce the sense of a government gridlocked over the Brexit process, with no agreement in cabinet over a future customs deal with the EU, and speculation ministers might seek to delay decisions still further.

This has prompted speculation that a transition period could be extended, in part to allow more time for a new customs arrangement. On Thursday, Nick Timothy, Theresa May’s former joint chief of staff, argued that this could happen, an idea immediately rejected by Downing Street.

The further delays on Brexit legislation reinforces the belief that ministers hope to avoid any Commons defeats by putting off any big decisions by MPs until the government has finalised its strategy for exiting the EU.

Instead of offering any progress on Brexit, the Commons timetable offers a series of general debates on subjects such as housing and homophobia. It brought accusations from Leadsom’s Labour shadow, Valerie Vaz, that the government was being cynical in…

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