The British government could take the highly unusual step of asking MPs to retrospectively approve a post-Brexit trade deal with the EU, Leader of the House of Commons and prominent Eurosceptic Jacob Rees-Mogg has said.
“Normally, you would expect a treaty to be ratified before it comes into force, but if both sides accept that ratification is done in a different way, that is theoretically possible,” the Conservative minister said.
British negotiators failed to reach an agreement with the 27-nation bloc by Sunday, meaning there is now even less time for parliament to ratify a deal before the December 31 deadline, when the UK stops trading under EU rules.
Speaking in the latest episode of his podcast, ‘The Moggcast’, Rees-Mogg admitted that MPs could be asked to “retrospectively correct” domestic law after a deal comes into force, and the government could even “ignore the law for a week.”
However he admitted that such a move would be “pretty unconstitutional territory,” adding that, “if anyone took it to court I think you would find yourselves in considerable difficulties.”
The government has already drawn anger from British MPs and Brussels over its legal handling of Brexit, after acknowledging in September that clauses of its Internal Market Bill would “break international law.”
The offending clauses, which would have allowed ministers to overrule the UK’s Withdrawal Agreement, were dropped, but the House of Lords is now set to decide on further amendments to the bill.
“Parliament will not be an obstacle to ratification,” added Rees-Mogg, who will announce on Thursday – 14 days before the December 31 deadline – whether or not the Commons will be required to sit next week.
He added that parliament is able to act “very quickly” when needed, and had previously “managed to pass the legislation to remove a king within 24 hours” – an apparent reference to the ousting and execution of King Charles I in 1649.
Think your friends would be interested? Share this story!