Tuesday, 17 July, 2018


Brexit law faces crucial Commons vote

Bennie Garza | 13 June, 2018, 09:26

British Prime Minister Theresa May narrowly avoided a major blow to her Brexit strategy Tuesday after MPs rejected a plan that would have given parliament a veto on the final deal negotiated with Brussels.

But after meeting Mrs May he told this paper: "I've been to see the prime minister and received important undertakings and chose to vote to give the prime minister the authority and freedom to negotiate the best deal she can".

Earlier May suffered a setback when junior justice minister Phillip Lee, who has always been critical of Brexit strategy, resigned and said he would vote against the government.

British Prime Minister Theresa May faces a showdown in parliament with lawmakers later on Tuesday who want a "meaningful vote" on an eventual Brexit deal.

Theresa May has seen off a threatened rebellion on Brexit with last-minute concessions which could give MPs a bigger say on the final withdrawal agreement and make a "no-deal" European Union exit all but impossible.

Tory whips are pressing potential pro-EU rebels in the Conservative Party's ranks to make sure the party rallies enough votes to win.

Crucially, ministers have conceded that if MPs vote down the Withdrawal Agreement with Brussels, that will not result in the United Kingdom crashing out of the European Union with no deal - a scenario that few MPs would countenance because of the significant economic damage it would entail.

Earlier, May appeared to have also stemmed a rebellion over her commitment to leaving the EU's customs union which will transform Britain's trading relationships for decades to come.

Chelmsford MP Vicky Ford, a former MEP who has frequently spoken out against Brexit, joined in the call for unity as she left the meeting.

"That term, Mr Speaker, is actually specifically defined in the Belfast Agreement and I've no doubt that government ministers will have read the Belfast Agreement in its entirety", she said.

In the event, Dr Lee abstained on the crucial vote, saying he was "delighted" the Government had agreed to introduce an amendment giving Parliament "the voice I always wanted it to have in the Brexit process".

But her concession to parliament means that lawmakers now have more power if she fails to secure a Brexit deal, which may lead to a softer approach to Britain's divorce.

He has also urged Conservative pro-Remain MPs to "change the course of Brexit" and vote accordingly on a series of upcoming crunch votes in the lower house of parliament.

On Tuesday and Wednesday MPs are debating 14 amendments to the EU Withdrawal Bill made by the House of Lords.

Ukip leader Gerard Batten said: "The only "meaningful vote" was the verdict of the people in referendum of 23rd June 2016". She now relies on the support of a small Northern Irish party.

"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 worldwide treaties, and respecting the referendum result".

Brexit protesters outside Parliament House.

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