Brexit: House of Lords EU Withdrawal Bill amendment voted down by MPs

Clay Curtis
June 13, 2018

And in a final vote, MPs voted by 326 votes to 301 to disagree with Lords amendment 52 linked to what European Union laws the United Kingdom will keep after Brexit.

Ministers had mounted an unprecedented public negotiation with Tory rebels in the House of Commons a bid to avoid defeat over the terms of a vote by MPs on the final Brexit deal.

What was the government's response? It meant that the United Kingdom government successfully defeated the Lords amendment, 324 to 298, to the dismay of Labour and other opposition parties.

Government sources signalled to the Press Association that ministers were set to back the move.

The Prime Minister appeared to have defused a potentially explosive row over the EU customs union on Monday night as Tory pro-Europe rebels Sir Oliver Letwin and Nicky Morgan and Brexiteers Jacob Rees-Mogg and Sir Bill Cash came together to table a separate compromise amendment backing "a customs arrangement" with the EU.

Is the government guaranteed to get what it wants? She now relies on the support of a small Northern Irish party.

Some 13 Tories have signed a "soft Brexit" amendment to the separate Trade Bill, and it is thought that a few others may be considering breaking ranks. The Labour party, the main opposition, is also divided on Brexit.

"We will wait and see the details of this concession and will hold ministers to account to ensure it lives up to the promises they have made to parliament".

What is the "meaningful vote" about?

But these putative pledges by the PM are inconsistent with Tuesday night's statement by Davis's officials that any new amendment relating to the power of MPs to accept or reject a Brexit deal must not restrict her negotiating freedom - or restrict her ability to sign whatever treaty with the European Union she would like.

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But one minister told the BBC he would commit only to "further discussions".

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

The Lords amendment would have given parliament the power to decide what happened next, with the possibility of reopening negotiations or staying in the bloc.

Although these terms would not necessarily keep the United Kingdom in the customs union, defeat in the Commons would be politically explosive, as it would show May has no majority for one of her key "red lines". "Any compromise [amendment] would have to be tabled by Govt in Lords".

Following its defeat, the government's own version of the amendment will now go forward.

In the event, Dr Lee abstained on the crucial vote, saying he was "delighted" the Government had agreed to introduce an amendment giving Parliament "the voice I always wanted it to have in the Brexit process".

The EU (Withdrawal) Bill would formally end Britain's membership of the bloc and transfer more than 40 years of European law onto the British statute books.

Is Theresa May's position in danger? "There could be a confidence motion [in the prime minister] or an early general election". This might convince some wavering "rebels" to back the government in order to save May and prevent Boris Johnson, the current foreign secretary and a leading so-called "Brexiteer", from seeking to replace her.

Is it all over once this Bill has passed?

The concession was prompted by an amendment from Dominic Grieve which demanded MPs had a bigger say on the final withdrawal agreement.

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