FactCheck: What happened to Brexit in Parliament yesterday?

14 Juin, 2018, 03:18 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • In Brexit showdown British PM May faces challenge over ‘meaningful vote

By 324 to 298, the House of Commons rejected giving legislators power to send the government back to the negotiating table with Brussels if they don't like the terms of the Brexit deal struck with the EU.

If it had been accepted the amendment would have given the lower chamber, the House of Commons, a "meaningful vote" on any deal agreed with Brussels before Britain leaves the European Union in March next year. But a government official said they had just agreed to open talks on the basis of the rebel amendment. The government says leaving the customs union will free the country to strike trade deals around the world. The increasingly febrile atmosphere comes as pressure builds for a deal by October ahead of Britain's withdrawal from the European Union in March next year.

The government averted defeat Tuesday by promising that Parliament would get more say over the U.K. -EU divorce deal.

In a day of drama, May's position seemed suddenly weaker when junior justice minister Phillip Lee, who has always been critical of the government's Brexit strategy, resigned and said he would vote against the government.

It emerged last night - after much horse-trading around Westminster - that the government would accept parts A and B of Grieve's amendments. But for those millions of former Remainer voters holding out for a hero until the end of the night, it's still unclear if rebel leader Dominic Grieve will fit the bill.

The government would not have sought a deal if it thought it had the votes to win, and they clearly blinked.

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It seems clear that no one is really sure which side - either the hard Brexiters or the hard Remainers - won the day, or what the impact of the government's supposed concession on the clause about a "meaningful vote" for MPs will be.

He later claimed Mr Johnson "inhabited a parallel universe" in which the referendum result is not respected "unless you want friction at the borders and disruption of the economy". The Lords' amendment, which MPs rejected, went further in requiring the withdrawal agreement to be placed on a statutory footing.

A third part of Grieve's amendment, which the government has not agreed to discuss and is likely to resist, would hand control of the Brexit negotiations to parliament if an exit deal has not been agreed by February 15 next year.

The Lords amendment would have given parliament the power to decide what happened next, with the possibility of going back to the negotiating table or even staying in the bloc. This is where Conservative rebels like Nicky Morgan, Anna Soubry and Ken Clark are expected to make their biggest move on customs. After a bumpy week of Brexit spats within her administration and with the EU, May wants to fend off another setback in a long-awaited showdown with restive lawmakers.

The Commons will vote later today on whether MPs should have a decisive vote on the final deal agreed between the United Kingdom and European Union in the autumn, but the government does not want MPs to be able to hold them to account. It's completely normal for MPs to withdraw their amendments to bills on the basis of a promise "to reconsider" or to "look again" at an issue.

On the meaningful vote, he said: "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".

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