THE BREXIT COMMITTEE kicked off this week debating amendments to the brexit bill, the committee itself is open to all MPs and because the entire house is to be involved it is held in the Commons. Furthermore, the EU have set a two-week deadline for the UK to clarify its position on what financial commitments they are willing to honour as part of the divorce deal. The government have also conceded that MPs will get a vote on the Brexit deal through an act of parliament.

The sticking points are still the divorce fee of £53 billion, the Irish border (which has since taken a blow in the amendments stage for the Brexit bill) and the rights of EU citizens.

David Davis has ironically accused the EU of playing politics over the negotiations.

Brexit bill amendments

There have been some key wins for the government over amendments for the Brexit bill but these wins for the Conservatives come at a cost for basic human decency. Firstly, Theresa May attempted to amend the bill so that the date of leaving the EU was enshrined into the Brexit bill, but this was voted down because it was a strange attempt to appease the hard-line Brexiteers and would give the government no flexibility in negotiations. MPs have also rejected an amendment from Caroline Lucas, which would have seen the EU law that recognises animal's sentience into UK law after Brexit, the EU law currently recognises that animals feel pain and emotion, but this has been rejected by MPs.

The government narrowly won the vote against Labour's amendment that would have seen EU law covering employment rights, environmental protection, standards of equalities, health and safety standards and consumer standards get enhanced protection beyond Brexit. The amendment which would have seen mechanisms placed within the bill so that MPs could change some aspects of EU law being incorporated into UK law outside the time limits in the bill, subject to enhanced scrutiny, was narrowly voted down.

Along with Caroline Luca's amendment on the recognition of animals as sentient beings, the government voted down Labour's amendment that would have seen environmental principles of EU law remain part of UK law after Brexit. With the Irish border providing problems for the government with negotiations with the EU, ensuring the safety of Northern Ireland should be a priority for the government However, they voted down an amendment that would have seen the principles of the Good Friday Agreement incorporated into the Brexit bill.

Inflexible and rigid

David Davis accused the EU of being inflexible in negotiations however, the voting down of vital amendments that would see worker's and animal rights protected, environmental legislation incorporated and even an amendment that would signal a step forward to the EU over Northern Ireland, which are currently a sticking point in the negotiations, after they voted against incorporating the Good Friday Agreement into the Brexit bill. These votes against vital rights and protections show the inflexibility of Theresa May's government within the negotiations and her desire to appease the hardline, no deal Brexiteers.

The vote that will be given to parliament will also be an accept the deal we have or leave with no deal, kind of vote. This will only serve to weaken the PM's negotiating position and will make the bad deal, the government will inevitably negotiate, look like a good deal comparative to the omnishambles of a no deal.