Sunday, 18 November, 2018


U.K. Minister Phillip Lee Resigns Ahead of Brexit Bill Showdown

Bennie Garza | 13 June, 2018, 12:42

The motion to reject the Lords amendment, which would have given MPs control over the government's negotiation strategy and the final exit deal, therefore passed by 324 votes to 298 - a majority of 26 votes.

Ministers saw off a move to give MPs the decisive say on what happens over Brexit if they do not agree with the deal negotiated by the United Kingdom government.

The debate, which lasted for almost three hours, was split down the usual non-partisan lines that have emerged as a result of Brexit, with the likes of Labour's Kate Hoey and John Mann saying they would back the Conservative government, while Tories including Ken Clarke and Anna Soubry spoke in favour of Grieve.

During a frantic day of discussions between ministers and Conservative backbenchers, potential rebels were eventually persuaded to back down when Solicitor General Robert Buckland told MPs that ministers were willing to "engage positively" with their concerns.

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 BBC's political editor Laura Kuenssberg said she had been told by a government source that no actual concessions had been agreed and the only agreement was to keep talking.

After winning Tuesday's ballot over changes to a future "meaningful vote" on a final agreement with Brussels in her European Union withdrawal bill, May's plans to end more than 40 years of membership in the bloc were still on track.

The Prime Minister met pro-EU Tories in her private room in the Commons moments before the crucial vote to hear their demands for a truly meaningful vote on the final deal.

Earlier, Mrs May was hit by the resignation of justice minister Phillip Lee, who quit the Government live on stage during a speech in London in order to be able to back Mr Grieve's amendment.

The new amendment, proposed by Conservative MP Dominic Grieve, will now be considered when the bill returns to the House of Lords, with government whips indicating to the rebels that they will accept the bulk of the amendment. The views expressed therein are not necessarily those of stlucianewsonline.com, its sponsors or advertisers.

Dr Lee's shock departure came as Brexit Secretary David Davis warned potential Tory rebels that they can not undo the European Union referendum, ahead of a tricky 48 hours in which the Government will try to get its Brexit programme back on track. Brexit supporters will be watching closely to see what concessions the government finally offers to the rebels.

But she faces a gruelling bout of "parliamentary ping-pong" with the Lords, as the Bill bounces back and forth between the two Houses over the coming weeks.

"The Government's amendment today provides for a meaningful vote".

"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", he said.

Keir Starmer, Labour's shadow Brexit secretary, was refusing to accept the government at its word Tuesday.

A spokesperson for the Department for Exiting the European Union said: "On the meaningful vote we have agreed to look for a compromise when this goes back to the Lords".

"It's a really interesting point - we had no time to discuss it".

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