United Kingdom parliament vote to reveal extent of anger over May's Brexit plan

Marco Green
July 17, 2018

MPs are expected to vote later on calls by pro-European Tories for the United Kingdom to stay in a customs union if there is no trade agreement by 21 January 2019.

To dispel the Tory infighting on Tuesday, May is expected to ask MPs to vote to start the parliament's summer recess on Thursday, five days before the expected end to the political season.

May's vulnerability in parliament, where she lost her Conservative Party's majority in an ill-judged election a year ago, was laid bare on Monday, when her decision to accept demands of pro-Brexit lawmakers stirred a rebellion among those who want to keep the closest possible ties in the EU.

More wobbles, after the high-profile resignations, could leave the prime minister in a very fragile position.

A Brexiteer source was quoted saying the move confirmed that "Chequers is dead on arrival" after the government caved in.

Tory Remainers claimed the government was being held to ransom by 40 MPs and that Jacob Rees-Mogg appeared to be running the country rather than the Prime Minister.

The amendments undercut parts of May's Chequers agreement, a plan for Britain's exit from the European Union that some lawmakers said watered down Britain's future independence.

"The inevitable effect of the parliamentary arithmetic is that she will need to change it to keep the party united", he told BBC television.

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May and U.S. President Donald Trump answer questions during a joint press conference following their meeting at Chequers, in Buckinghamshire, England, Friday, July 13, 2018.

Former education secretary Justine Greening, who opposed Brexit, said May's plan to follow European Union rules on trade in goods without being able to influence them was "the worst of both worlds".

Parliament will debate aspects of the Brexit plan later Monday.

On Monday, May gave in to Tory hardliners by accepting four amendments to the bill, underpinned by her Brexit white paper, meant to toughen up her negotiating stance.

David Davis quit as Brexit minister and Boris Johnson stepped down as foreign minister last week over May's Brexit blueprint, which would keep Britain economically close to the EU.

A second forces the government to commit in law not to allow a customs border down the Irish Sea, which could come into conflict with the backstop's demand that Northern Ireland remains aligned with the Republic for customs purposes.

On Monday, MP Scott Mann was the ninth Conservative to resign in protest to May's plan.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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