Theresa May may have to extend the Brexit process by pushing back the official exit day, and lengthening the transition period, a new report has warned.
The UK parliament may not have enough time to sign off the final Brexit deal, a group of cross-party MPs has warned, as the Prime Minister heads to Brussels with zero expectation of making any progress on talks.
The Brexit committee, which is chaired by Labour's Hilary Benn and includes pro-Leave MPs such as Jacob Rees-Mogg and Peter Bone as well as Remainers such as Jonathan Djanogly and Stephen Kinnock, claims that "even under the most optimistic scenario" of full agreement being reached in October, MPs would be hard pressed to properly consider the subsequent bill.
There will be just five months to consider the Withdrawal and Implementation Bill, which is expected to include the terms of a future relationship between the UK and EU. It has taken just over a year for the arguably more straightforward EU Withdrawal Bill to pass through parliament and become law.
As a result, the report argues that a "limited extension" to Article 50 may be required to avoid the UK leaving without an agreement in place, as well as including a "simple mechanism" to allow transition to be extended if the future relationship is not agreed during the period after March 29 2019.
Benn is due to speak in the Commons today, however ahead of his appearance he said: "Time is not on our side. The Bank of England is now adding to calls from business and unions for 'pace and urgency' in the Brexit negotiations, saying 'material risks' remain. This follows public warnings about the implications of a hard Brexit from firms such as Airbus and BMW.
"While the Cabinet continues to run down the clock as it tries to agree on a plan, it would be unconscionable if the House of Commons was not provided with the time and opportunity both for the fullest debate and to enable a clear expression of its opinion on the most significant decision our country has faced in a generation."
The committee rejects Brexit secretary David Davis' assertion that the UK would leave the EU without a deal if MPs were to refuse to approve the final deal.
"The House would expect the government to re-submit a motion for approval in circumstances following any renegotiation requested, or having considered any conditions put on approval, by the House," the report says."The Committee calls on the government to provide for a second parliamentary vote in such circumstances."
It also calls for a minimum of five days to debate the final agreement, with the Speaker being granted the right to select "a series" of different amendments.
The report, which is published as May joins EU leaders at the European Council meeting, also calls for the government to clarify how legal provision will be made for any backstop solution for Northern Ireland and calls for a a meaningful vote on the final text of the future UK-EU relationship – the subject of recent parliamentary battles between the Prime Minister and her backbenchers.