Tuesday, 18 September, 2018

Six Labour frontbenchers resign in protest at Labour’s Brexit position

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Bennie Garza | 14 June, 2018, 05:36

Facing the prospect of losing a vote on a crucial amendment to the government's flagship Brexit legislation - which was created to empower parliament to vote down the final deal without risking a "no-deal" exit from the bloc - ministers intervened with a concession at the 11th hour even as MPs were wrapping up debate on the controversial measure.

The pro-European cause was boosted when junior justice minister Phillip Lee, a friend of May's, resigned shortly before the debate in order to back the veto amendment.

We just want to make sure the economy is protected.

He called for Brexit, now set for March 2019, to be delayed and for the public to get a second referendum on the terms of any exit deal.

While in the end, only two Tory MPs - Ken Clarke and Anna Soubry - voted against the government, there were clashes over how much of a say Parliament should get as the United Kingdom leaves the European Union, with one side accusing the other of trying to "wreck" Brexit - and being accused in turn of being "zealots" who wanted to sideline Parliament.

The European Union Withdrawal Bill, meant to enact Britain's exit from the bloc, has had a rocky ride through Parliament.

But in a last-ditch concession by the Government to swerve a revolt, the PM is indicating that it will put forward two of the three parts of Mr Grieve's amendment when the bill returns to the House of Lords.

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. But May is facing a potential rebellion from some Conservative lawmakers who want to retain close ties with the bloc after the United Kingdom leaves in March 2019. "Parliamentary pressure will remain in place to soften the Brexit outcome", says Lee Hardman, a currency analyst at MUFG.

The Government secured the right to kick out the EEA amendment to the Brexit Bill proposed by the Lords with 327 votes to 126.

The government has defeated the final group of Lords amendments, by 321 votes to 40 - a majority of 281.

"We must under all circumstances respect the result of the referendum", Brexit Secretary David Davis told lawmakers as he opened the debate.

The remain-supporting opposition Labour Party has since beaten a retreat from its earlier position and is now attempting to force government into keeping the United Kingdom inside of the EU customs union and single market.

"It's not practical, it's not desirable and it's not appropriate", he said.

The customs amendment would have forced May's government to take steps to keep Britain in a customs union with the European Union after Brexit.

Britain's highest-selling tabloid, The Sun, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch, addressed lawmakers directly on its front page, saying they faced a choice between "Great Britain or Great Betrayal".

Anna Soubry, a pro-EU Conservative lawmaker, said she knew of one legislator who would not vote with their conscience because of "threats to their personal safety" and that of staff and family.

The pro-independence party accuses the British government of trying to seize powers that will be handed back from Brussels after Brexit and which the SNP believes should go to Scotland's Edinburgh-based parliament.

It has been two years since Britain voted to exit the European Union, and there are eight months until the U.K.is due to leave the bloc on March 29, 2019.



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