After compromise, Britain's May set to avoid defeat in parliament on customs

Lester Mason
June 14, 2018

The MP, who said she would be abstaining, said: "It is far inferior to a bespoke customs arrangement that the Prime Minister is determined to seek, but if she doesn't we need it as a plan B".

Some lawmakers tried to shout him down and accused the government of wanting too much power.

Seeking to placate would-be Conservative rebels, government frontbenchers offered to meet them to discuss their concerns, and agreed to "engage positively" on a "compromise" put forward by one of them, former attorney general Dominic Grieve.

He told BBC Radio Scotland's Good Morning Scotland programme: "Even if we had had 100 hours of debate the outcome wouldn't have changed because the SNP and Scottish Government position is exactly the same as it was on day one of this Bill".

Some of the pro-EU rebels said they had been assured by May that elements proposed by Conservative lawmaker Dominic Grieve would be brought into the European Union withdrawal bill, which will sever ties with the bloc and "copy and paste" its laws. Pro-Brexit Conservative lawmaker Edward Leigh slammed pro-EU colleagues, saying Parliament must respect the result of the June 2016 voter referendum.

The so-called "meaningful say" vote was defeated by 324 votes to 298.

She reportedly shared it with Remain-supporting Cabinet ministers over the weekend, days before it was presented to Eurosceptic minister Boris Johnson, Liam Fox, and Michael Gove.

Ms Allen, in her speech, urged the Government to develop a lifeboat plan B by negotiating continued access to the EEA along with joining Efta.

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

Part C would give parliament the power to issue direct orders to the government if no deal was in place by 15 February 2019.


The Brexit Department said in a statement that it would look for compromise, but would not agree to lawmakers "binding the government's hands" in negotiations.

Theresa May has said that Parliament can not be allowed to "overturn the will of the British people" on Brexit.

Details of the government's commitment will have to be formalized next week in a new amendment to the bill.

On the second day of debate on the UK's flagship Brexit legislation, ministers conceded changes on refugee policy after Brexit.

But the resignation by Phillip Lee, who has always been critical of the government's Brexit strategy, underlined the deep rifts in the party over Brexit that makes such votes anything but easy.

The UK government is winning the third vote as MPs vote on Lords amendments to the European Union withdrawal bill. However, other bills on trade and customs are due to come before the House of Commons in the next few weeks, and rebels are preparing to challenge May's plans again.

The shift makes it significantly harder for the government to force through a "hard Brexit" outside the customs union and single market.

It has also intensified pressure on a prime minister who lost her party's parliamentary majority at an ill-judged election a year ago and tested her already weakened authority.

An agreement that defused a potential rebellion over handing parliament more control over Britain's exit from the European Union looked in danger of unraveling on Wednesday, when the two camps argued over the shape of a possible compromise on a "meaningful vote".

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

Discuss This Article

FOLLOW OUR NEWSPAPER