Government forced to climbdown to avoid Brexit vote defeat

Evarado Alatorre
Junio 13, 2018

Government sources confirmed ministers will now discuss the possible incorporation of these elements of Mr Grieve's proposals into the legislation.

Remain-supporting Conservative MPs had threatened to back an amendment to the bill which would have given parliament a more widespread veto. Given that after November 30, the House of Commons looks set to be empowered in the negotiations, it would not be in Barnier's interest to negotiate a harder form of Brexit before the U.K.'s self-imposed deadline.

Senior Remainer Dominic Grieve said Mrs May promised to table amendments in the House of Lords which will address their concerns.

"I can not support the government's decision to oppose this amendment because doing so breaches such fundamental principles of human rights and parliamentary sovereignty", he said. "I am sure a sensible amendment will be forthcoming which we can all agree to".

Details of precisely what this will involve could emerge in the coming days when the EU Withdrawal bill is due to return to the House of Lords. The two sides aren't yet clear exactly on the terms of their deal, but it looks likely that Parliament will emerge with a greater say in the process.

"In all conscience, I can not support the Government's decision to oppose this amendment because doing so breaches such fundamental principles of human rights and Parliamentary sovereignty".

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.

Parliament will vote Tuesday on a key piece of legislation, the E.U. Withdrawal bill, that would transfer European Union laws now on British books into British law after Brexit.

"This justifies my decision to resign and makes it a lot less painful".

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Fellow Tory Remainers Anna Soubry and Ken Clarke were not convinced by ministers' concession and voted against the government by backing the Lords amendment on a "meaningful vote".

MPs were told that one parliamentarian had to be accompanied to a public meeting by a six armed police officers because of threats over their stance on Brexit.

Although their compromise offer bought off other potential Tory rebels, the government later issued a series of red lines they would not cross in trying to appease backbenchers.

"That was the decision of the British people. and whatever we do, we're not going to reverse that", he told the BBC.

Asked whether such concessions would nowAsked whether such concessions would hamper Britain's negotiating hand, Mr Grieve continued: "I disagree with that entirely".

The move represents a dramatic climbdown from Mrs May's original plan to offer MPs a "take it or leave it" vote to accept the withdrawal agreement or leave the European Union without a deal.

The main point of contention between those who want to keep the closest possible ties with the European Union and those who aim for a clean break is a demand to give parliament a "meaningful vote" on any agreement May negotiates with Brussels.

Theresa May ultimately persuaded all but two of her MPs to back her in the decisive vote in Westminster on Tuesday - but she increasingly appears little more than a hostage to the warring factions in a bitterly divided Conservative party.

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