Brexit: David Davis to update MPs returning after summer break

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The Brexit repeal bill will be debated on Thursday

Brexit Secretary David Davis is to update MPs on last week’s negotiations with the European Union later.

Mr Davis will make a statement in the House of Commons about the progress of the third round of Brexit talks.

It comes after the prime minister said the UK is ready to “intensify” talks rather than stick to its one-week-a-month schedule.

EU officials have warned over the progress of negotiations and said the UK must “start negotiating seriously”.

As the Commons returns after the summer recess, MPs will also hear about plans for science and innovation in the UK post-Brexit and debate the government’s EU withdrawal bill.

The bill, to be debated on Thursday and seen as a key part of the government’s Brexit strategy, will transfer existing EU legislation into domestic UK law.

It has been suggested that some pro-EU Conservative MPs could back Labour attempts to make changes to the bill, but former minister and Remain campaigner Anna Soubry told the Observer any attempts to change the bill would amount to “a trouncing of democracy and people will not accept it”.

Chancellor Philip Hammond said on Monday that Tory backbenchers who wanted to “amend or delay” the withdrawal bill should not disrupt “this vitally important piece of enabling legislation”.

Labour has requested amendments in six areas of the legislation, including guarantees that workers’ rights will be protected.

Over the summer break, it changed its position to back the single market and customs union for a four-year transition period.

Labour says it will seek to make amendments to stop the government gaining new powers after Brexit.

Divorce bill questions

On Monday, Downing Street said the UK was ready to “intensify” Brexit talks, with Theresa May’s spokesman saying the government wanted to discuss future relations with the EU “as soon as we can”.

Brexit is scheduled to take place in March 2019, but Number 10 said it would rather have a rolling series of meetings than the current one-week-a-month talks.

There are also still questions – from both sides – about how much the final divorce bill should be. European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has said it could be around 60bn euros (£55bn) but others suggest it could reach 100bn euros (£92bn).

Mr Davis has dismissed reports the UK secretly agreed a figure of up to £50bn.

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