Brexit: MPs says PM must honour 'assurances' over Parliament's role

Clay Curtis
June 14, 2018

Mrs May looked as if she could have been defeated by a key amendment in the European Union withdrawal bill- known as the meaningful vote- introduced by the House of Lords, which would have given parliament powers to direct the Brexit negotiations.

To avoid defeat, the government promised to make its own changes to the bill to strengthen Parliament's powers.

But Brexit campaigners feared it could weaken Britain's negotiating stance in talks to leave the European Union and the Brexit ministry was quick to put out a statement saying: "We have not, and will not, agree to the House of Commons binding the government's hands in the negotiation".

Liberal Democrat Brexit spokesman Tom Brake said: "As has become a tradition in Brexit negotiations, the Tories have been forced to cobble together a compromise".

Mr Grieve said no government would survive if it tried to dispense with Parliament's input. If the government fails to pass the bill as it is, it will be forced to change what it asks for in negotiations with the European Union -undermining May's position and possibly threatening her job as Prime Minister.

Justice minister Phillip Lee is the first minister to resign over the government's Brexit policy. They should find an agreement by the end of the week before the bill returns to the House of Lords.

"This is the moment when we have to tell each other the truth", said Hilary Benn, a Labour lawmaker who voted for the EEA motion. The government has also put down some amendments aimed at uniting the party around a compromise.

Anna Soubry, a pro-EU Conservative lawmaker, said she knew of one legislator who would not vote with their conscience because of "threats to their personal safety" and that of staff and family.

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In a concession, the government promised that lawmakers would have a say on what to do next if there is no agreement with the European Union, or if Parliament rejects the deal offered.

Opening the debate, Brexit Secretary David Davis insisted the government would abide by three principles to defend the will of the British people.

74 Labour MPs rebelled to vote against disagreeing with the Lords EEA amendment and 15 rebelled to vote with the Government in agreeing to reject the Lords EEA amendment.

A putative future Labour government would reportedly keep Britain in the European Customs Union however, meaning that the United Kingdom would continue to be a part of and would negotiate its global trade deals along with the remaining 27 EU member states rather than striking its own independent relationships. But how much of the proposed amendment has actually been accepted by the government? The Lords' amendment, which MPs rejected, went further in requiring the withdrawal agreement to be placed on a statutory footing.

The Prime Minister appears to have rowed back on promises to rebel MPs yesterday that she would discuss another concession with them this week.

The vote is being sold as a victory for Grieve and his band of Tory rebels.

Mr Grieve confirmed he voted with the UK Government after receiving assurances, telling Sky News: "I am quite satisfied we are going to get a meaningful vote".

Here are the key amendments which MPs voted on Wednesday evening. They have tabled clauses to keep the both the single market and customs union - measures businesses want but May has rejected in the name of reclaiming sovereignty.

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