Monday, 25 June, 2018


Ministers win key Brexit bill vote after concession

Former justice minister Phillip Lee told the House of Commons he was ‘devastated’ over his resignation Former justice minister Phillip Lee told the House of Commons he was ‘devastated’ over his resignation
Bennie Garza | 14 June, 2018, 04:13

Theresa May's landmark Brexit legislation returns to the House of Commons on Tuesday, with the 15 amendments added to it by the upper House of Lords mostly created to keep closer ties to the European Union and give Parliament more power over the divorce process.

If some of its leave-supporting lawmakers choose to vote against the amendment, the government could avoid defeat altogether.

"We have not, and will not, agree to the House of Commons binding the Government's hands in the negotiations".

He claimed the PM had delayed the transition from December 2020 until December 2021, something Mrs May dismissed as "quite wrong" as she said the backstop arrangement would come into force if it is not possible to put future customs arrangement in place by January 1 2021. That probably means the chances of a no-deal Brexit recede.

That came after the embarrassing spectacle of government minister Robert Buckland effectively negotiating with Grieve, through a series of interventions in the rebel backbencher's speech, in what Anna Soubry called "a peculiar sort of horse-trading" - and then literally negotiating with him, in whispered exchanges, as the debate went on around them.

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. They should find an agreement by the end of the week before the bill returns to the House of Lords.

Five Labour MPs have resigned from their roles ahead of a Brexit vote on remaining in the European Economic Area.

In fact, her party is far from united.

They were also told the first two parts of Grieve's amendment - including that MPs will have a veto on what do to if an agreement can't be reached by 30 November - would be considered with a view to being tabled to the Lords.

Following days of frantic lobbying by Conservative officials, May renewed appeals for unity over the "meaningful vote", after the government appeared to have secured a compromise to stop a similar rebellion on Wednesday over Britain's trading ties with the EU.

MPs started debating the amendments to the bill just after 1pm on June 12. This affords Conservative pro-'Remain' MPs another opportunity to defeat the government if their discussions with ministers do not yield the tangible concessions they seek.

"That is why I will be voting for my frontbench's amendment but also the Lords' amendment too". Brexit supporters will be watching closely to see what concessions the government finally offers to the rebels. They have tabled clauses to keep the U.K.in both the single market and customs union - measures businesses want but May has rejected in the name of reclaiming sovereignty.

Ms Allen insisted that the referendum was a binary vote and it didn't say that MPs should neglect their duty, but Nick hit back: "Your duty, some would argue, is to deliver Brexit, which is what the people have told you to do". MPs will vote on this particular amendment this afternoon.

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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