Brexit 'meaningful vote' rejected as PM strikes deal with Tory rebels
Brexit 'meaningful vote' rejected as PM strikes deal with Tory rebels
Tory Remainers Threaten Open Rebellion if May Reneges on Brexit Vote Pledge
14 June, 2018, 09:44
Parliament voted 325 to 298 in favor of rejecting a House of Lords amendment to require ministers to report on their efforts in negotiations to secure a customs union. The strained parliament session underlined deep divisions over Britain's European Union exit.
But Mr Grieve's amendment demands that if there is no agreement with Brussels before the end of November MPs would vote on a motion setting out what should happen next.
A majority of MPs defeated attempts to turn the prime minister's Brexit policy on its head on Wednesday.
Some 74 Labour MPs, including Remainers Jess Phillips, Stella Creasy and Hilary Benn, rebelled against Corbyn to vote against the amendment to the EU (Withdrawal Bill).
Parliamentary debates about complex legal amendments rarely rouse much heat, but passions run high over anything to do with Brexit.
But just an hour before the vote, due at around 1500 GMT, the government sought to compromise with senior pro-EU Conservative lawmaker Dominic Grieve, who had put forward his own amendment, which increased the risk of a government defeat.
The vote on Tuesday is the first of two days of debate that will test May's authority and her plans for leaving the EU. They included 75 who supported EEA membership and 15 who opposed it.
'It would leave us with next to no say over rules we have to follow, it does not allow us to negotiate a new comprehensive UK-EU customs union and it fails to resolve the Irish border issue.
She told BBC Radio 4's World At One that "at least half a dozen" junior ministers had been "very uncomfortable for some time" at the Government's direction on Brexit. The strength of this commitment is yet to be seen in writing - and the Brexit department is still insisting it has not given up control of the negotiations - but the anti-Brexit rebels showed they have the numbers to force a defeat should the government renege on its pledge.
After it was not clear whether that would win over potential rebels, a minister offered Grieve a compromise to discuss parts of his amendment that the government could adopt - a move aimed at warding off a potential rebellion led by the lawmaker.
But the former Europe minister Pat McFadden said it would be "unwise and rash" to take the EEA, the one viable alternative to a Tory deal on Brexit, or no deal at all, off the table.
Conservative Brexit campaigners accused those in the party who indicated they would vote against the government of not respecting the referendum result.
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.
Five Labour MPs have resigned from frontbench roles in a blow to Jeremy Corbyn over a key Brexit vote, the Labour party has announced.
The Brexit talks are progressing painfully slowly, but both sides still hope to reach a deal in October ahead of Britain's withdrawal from the European Union in March 2019.
Prior to the vote, Labour's staunch pro-EU MPs - such as Chuka Umunna and Owen Smith - pleaded with the leadership to embrace the Norway option, as they believe it's the best chance retain full access to the single market.
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