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The Withdrawal Bill needs amending—but this amendment will not do

The government now proposes to enshrine the date of Brexit in law. This would be wrong and parliament will not approve it

By Jolyon Maugham  

Prime Minister Theresa May outside No 10. Photo: NurPhoto/SIPA USA/PA Images

On 13th July the government published the EU Withdrawal Bill. And it was immediately clear, to this writer at least, that, even in a Bill widely condemned for stripping power from parliament, there was one feature uglier than the rest: the date of any exit from the EU would not be decided by parliament—but by a minister of the crown.

Later that day, on the electronic pages of this very organ, I wrote:

“on the date of our departure…

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