UK Will Accept EU Courts Having Power in Britain After Brexit, Says Davis

Brexit Secretary David Davis
EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty

The Brexit minister has said the UK will accept the jurisdiction of European courts during a Brexit transition period “certainly initially” and confirmed MPs will be allowed to vote on a final Brexit deal.

A Department for Exiting the European Union (EU) spokesman said Thursday that they “expect and intend” for a parliamentary vote on a final Brexit deal to take place before exit day in March 2019.

This was after David Davis, who is in charge of the department, had told a committee of MPs earlier that day that a vote might not take place until Britain has already left the bloc.

The admissions could be seen as concessions to anti-Brexit campaigners.

In September, the leading Brexit-supporting MP Jacob Rees-Mogg said there would be “considerable dissatisfaction” in the country “if we are not outside the ECJ’s [European Court of Justice] jurisdiction on the date of leaving”.

Academics have previously argued that it would be a form of “colonialism” for the ECJ to continue to wield power over an independent, sovereign UK with no political influence over the laws the court enforces.

“We are working to reach an agreement on the final deal in good time before we leave the EU in March 2019,” the Brexit department spokesman said.

“Once the deal is agreed we will meet our long-standing commitment to a vote in both houses and we expect and intend this to be before the vote in the European Parliament and therefore before we leave.”

Mr. Davis had also told Parliament’s Brexit Select Committee that he believed the EU would only finalise a deal at the last possible moment, The Guardian reports.

“It’s no secret that the way the union makes its decisions tends to be at the 59th minute of the 11th hour of the last day. That’s precisely what I would expect to happen here. I am quite sure in my mind that we can do that,” he said.

A ‘no-deal’ Brexit scenario, in which the UK leaves the EU without a deal, is “off the probability scale,” he also said, but if such a scenario did occur Mr. Davis could “imagine” the UK not honouring any financial commitment to the bloc.

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