MPs force major soft Brexit shift

Lester Mason
June 13, 2018

The "meaningful vote" is a crucial amendment passed in the House of Lords which, if passed in Commons, would have allowed Parliament to take charge of the negotiating strategy if they vote against the Government's Brexit deal in autumn.

Amendment 19 was proposed by Douglas Hogg, former Tory cabinet minister, now life peer. "Labour will only vote for a final Brexit deal if it delivers a strong relationship with the single market based on full tariff-free access and ensures no loss of rights and standards", Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said on Facebook.

One of the key points of difference between the Prime Minister and the rebels is a Lords amendment which states the Government must seek to negotiate a customs union with the EU.

But Tory MP Andrew Bridgen, a leading Brexit backer, said the concessions could "come back to haunt" the government if they amounted to a veto over the terms of the UK's departure.

That is when Theresa May reportedly gave 15-20 Conservative "rebels" assurances that the government would accept the general meaning of Dominic Grieve's alternative amendment.

Shortly before MPs began voting, Sandbach praised the government for making "important concessions".

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 worldwide treaties, and respecting the referendum result", a spokesperson for the Brexit department said in a statement.

Getty The Government has won this key vote, but not without having to make some significant concessions.

The most recent proposal, made by Mr Grieve last night, says that if there is no agreement by November 30, there must be a Commons vote on what happens next.


British Prime Minister Theresa May is urging feuding Conservative lawmakers to unite and prevent the government from being defeated in key votes on its main Brexit bill.

The new concession is likely to prove hugely controversial with Brexit-supporting MPs, some of whom have told BI that they intend to oust May if she "backslides" any more on Brexit.

Another key vote is on keeping the United Kingdom in European Economic Area, but the proposal has little chance of making it through as Labour is likely to tell its MPs to abstain on the vote.

The vote comes after a hard day for the Tories.

Remain-supporting Dr Lee quit as justice minister live on stage during a speech in London, saying he could not support "how our country's exit from the European Union looks set to be delivered".

A minister long critical of the government's handling of Brexit resigned earlier in protest at what he called its "wish to limit" the role of lawmakers in the process.

The victory was the first major win in two days of debates on the government's European Union withdrawal bill, which will sever ties with the European Union, after the upper house of parliament, the House of Lords, introduced 15 changes.

Phillip Lee, who resigned this morning, gave an impassioned speech from the "naughty corner" on the backbenches - flanked by Remainers including Bob Neill, Nicky Morgan, receiving congratulations for his decision by Soubry and Sarah Wollaston.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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