The passionate Brexiteer warned Ms Cooper and Nick Boles’ amendment the Brexit deal would only serve to “kick the can down the road” in a “blindfold approach” – two things she had earlier criticised Theresa May’s Brexit strategy for. The former Brexit Secretary said he wanted to strengthen Theresa May’s hand in negotiations and so would vote for the Brady amendment.
He said: “I want to send the PM back to Brussels with a strong and clear sense with what we will accept.
“I think that is the only way to get a deal acceptable to this House and this country.”
On Yvette Cooper’s amendment aimed at an extension of Article 50, Mr Raab said: “It does say in the bill very clearly that it would be nine months, and the EU has made clear we need to know the strategic objective of any extension.
“There is no place in this bill where the approach of the Honourable Lady would seek to pursue on this substance is set out.
“It is not clear that it is the Norway option, the second referendum option.
“It is neutral on the subject, in fact, I would say it is empty on the substance.”
MPs are voting on a number of amendments to the Prime Minister’s Withdrawal Agreement that will determine the future of the Government’s plan to solve the Brexit impasse.
One of the amendments tabled by Tory Remainer Dominic Grieve would see MPs take direct control of the process of leaving the European Union.
But there are also hints of a possible deal between the two warring wings of the Conservative Party in what is being dubbed the “Malthouse compromise” , named after Tory MP Kit Malthouse, which advocates claim could be the key to cutting through the gridlock that has characterised the process so far.
Speaking in the Commons, Prime Minister Theresa May dismissed former attorney general Mr Grieve’s amendment, as well as another submitted by Yvette Cooper calling for the delaying of Article 50 and Brexit.
Mrs May is urging MPs to back the Sir Graham Brady’s amendment which aims to replace the Irish backstop with so-far unspecified “alternative arrangements”.
MPs have voted against Labour’s amendment to agree to a permanent customs union with the EU and SNP’s amendment to avoid a no deal outcome.
The House also voted against Dominic Grieve’s amendment to give Parliament more powers on the Brexit process going forward.