Government wins Brexit bill vote after concessions

13 Juin, 2018, 14:15 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau

On Tuesday, the Government avoided a potentially devastating defeat over the EU Withdrawal Bill, which would have otherwise seen unprecedented powers handed to MPs to reject the agreement reached with Brussels and to dictate the Prime Minister's next steps.

In another chaotic day in Westminster, which saw the resignation of youth justice minister Phillip Lee in the morning, May spoke with around a dozen Tory rebels in her office minutes before voting started.

They believe that if there is no Brexit deal by the end of November, the government must clear its next course of action with MPs.

"The point is if that doesn't translate now into an amendment that we're comfortable with the Lords will be able to prop back the amendment that was contentious yesterday".

That effectively rules out threatening the European Union with a no-deal Brexit, because the Commons will not approve a no-deal Brexit.

"In all conscience, I can not support the Government's decision to oppose this amendment because doing so breaches such fundamental principles of human rights and Parliamentary sovereignty".

"It was so positive it enabled quite a large number of my colleagues to vote to remove the Lords' amendments and substitute the Government's amendments".

The former attorney general said: "The government agreed that the amendment raised an important issue, that the matter about the ability of Parliament to have a meaningful vote not just on the final deal but also on "no deal" had to be allowed".

"Where some of its most senior people who hold the greatest offices of state, at every twist and turn, when our Prime Minister moves towards securing a Brexit that will serve everybody in our country, the softest, most sensible Brexit, both publicly and privately they undermine her and scupper her attempts".

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Leading pro-EU Conservative Sarah Wollaston announced she would vote with the Government so long as a promised further amendment in the Lords "closely reflects" the Grieve proposals.

Another flashpoint could come when lawmakers vote Wednesday on an amendment seeking to keep Britain in a customs union with the EU.

A paper laying out the UK government position, due to be published this month, has been delayed because the Cabinet can not agree on a united stance.

It was carefully crafted in an effort to appease her Brexit Secretary, David Davis, who had threatened to quit if there was no cut-off date.

Liberal Democrat Brexit spokesman Tom Brake said: "As has become a tradition in Brexit negotiations, the Tories have been forced to cobble together a compromise".

The government was putting a combative spin on the concessions Tuesday evening: "The Brexit Secretary has set out three tests that any new amendment has to meet - not undermining the negotiations, not changing the constitutional role of Parliament and Government in negotiating global treaties, and respecting the referendum result", a spokesperson for the Brexit department said in a statement.

"The ERG are supporting the government", the MP said.

"Parliament, don't stand against the people - implement their will!"

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