May faces another day of Brexit compromise in parliament

Elias Hubbard
June 13, 2018

A Lords amendment to the EU Withdrawal Bill would have given MPs the decisive say on what happens over Brexit if they don't agree with the final deal with the EU.

"It would be the end of the Conservative party if they succeed", he said. That has potentially seismic consequences for the protracted and increasingly messy split from Brussels.

The victory - by 324 votes to 298 - only came after public haggling between ministers and would-be rebels and a meeting between Mrs May and more than a dozen Tory MPs.

The government is resisting the changes, which are aimed at softening the terms of the U.K.'s exit from the European Union.

The Lib Dems, who identify strongly as an anti-Brexit party to the point of pushing for a second referendum and running by-elections in Remain-friendly seats on that platform, opposed the Government. 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.

Dismissing claims that Mrs May had effectively abandoned her threat that the United Kingdom could leave the European Union without a deal, Mr Jenkin said: "There is only agreement for discussions, not concessions". MPs would then be permitted to vote on the final Brexit deal, igniting fear in Brexiteer MPs, as parliament could also halt the Brexit process entirely.

British Prime Minister Theresa May faces a knife-edge vote in parliament on June 12 on her centrepiece Brexit legislation, despite her last-minute warning that defeat risks undermining her negotiations with Brussels.

The upshot of the shift may well be as dramatic as the parliamentary procedure is incomprehensible.

A group of backbenchers had been planning to back an alternative amendment spearheaded by former attorney general Dominic Grieve, which would have given MPs a greater say over the Brexit process.

The legislation is now back before the House of Commons after a total of 15 defeats by the House of Lords.

Details of precisely what this will involve will be agreed in the coming days when the bill is due to return to the House of Lords and ministers could table a fresh amendment. That clause - drafted by Grieve - basically hands a lot of power to Parliament if no deal has been agreed by the end of November.

Further clashes were expected on Wednesday during debate on amendments relating to how closely Britain stays aligned with the EU's economy after leaving.

This change sought to give greater powers to the "sifting committee", which would be established to decide whether recommendations proposed by ministers to amend retained European Union law after Brexit would require a Commons vote.

"We will be talking to the government immediately after this in order to find a common way forward".

The government has been criticised for not allowing time to debate the Irish border during a series of key Brexit votes at Westminster. How Brexiteers react to that prospect could determine how long this Government survives.

A junior minister in the government of British Prime Minister Theresa May resigned on Tuesday ahead of a crucial vote that could decide the future of Brexit-and perhaps the Prime Minister herself. Yes, it's a significant compromise but we live to fight another day.

If May is defeated by a wide margin her position as Prime Minister could be threatened.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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