UPDATED: Early-morning report claims Labour request for late changes to Article 50 ruling rejected, confirms big win for government.
The Supreme Court is due to rule later this morning whether MPs should have a binding vote on the government’s Brexit deal when it reaches the House of Commons before the UK leaves the EU.
If the government is to secure a parliamentary vote on the deal, MPs will need to approve a change to their own employment rules.
Several MPs from both sides of the House have criticised the government’s decision to make job classifications which forbid employees from working on Brexit changes.
Corbyn MP Seema Malhotra today told the Commons: “It is perverse that the government could, overnight, make concessions on the means by which the House of Commons has a meaningful say in the negotiations by offering a special limited exemption to its own parliamentary work: something I believe the House of Commons should, as a matter of urgency, be able to back.”
Trade minister Mark Garnier said such an exemption would come at the “expense of job security of many responsible workers across the UK”.
He described such an exemption as a “farce” and went on to say “no one would disagree that under the current legal doctrine of the UK’s parliamentary sovereignty, people have a legal right to a short leave of absence to be at their EU destinations during the Brexit process”.
Labour MP Luke Hall has also criticised the government for trying to bring in such an exemption, telling the BBC: “That would create an entirely new category of employment which would create concerns for people and work practices that aren’t necessarily going to get support from the law society and so on. It would give people a special right to work on Brexit, but you can’t just take rights away without actually changing the law.”
Labour’s amendments to Article 50
Earlier on Thursday, Labour ministers submitted their own amendment to the Article 50 ruling.
Without voting for it, Labour were permitted to put forward a “country-wide assurance” to secure the jobs of the UK’s judges, judges’ assistants, court staff and civil servants.
Yesterday, Labour MP Stephen Kinnock said he was “delighted that the substantive point about the role of judges in the future of the UK was going to be discussed”, highlighting the importance of the status of judges in the Brexit process.
Labour MPs and peers have long argued that Prime Minister Theresa May’s plan is unfit for purpose, and the Article 50 ruling has created a new opportunity for Labour to tackle the government’s approach to the negotiations.