West Oxfordshire MP resigns from government over Brexit plan

Clay Curtis
July 17, 2018

The UK is due to leave the European Union on 29 March 2019 but the two sides have yet to agree how their final trading relationship will work.

The British prime minister insisted that her Brexit blueprint was not fatally compromised after she caved in to four demands from Leave supporters in order to avoid a Commons rebellion over a key piece of Brexit legislation. They said the changes would greatly limit May's ability to move forward with the plan that prompted two hardliners in her Cabinet to resign in protest last week - and fresh resignations of lesser figures Monday.

Barnier has warned that it will be hard to reach a conclusion in the negotiations by the October target.

The working Tory Remainer strategy appears to be to threaten to vote against the government to force minor concessions but ultimately to fall in line at the last minute for fear that toppling May would lead to something worse.

He told Today: "I'm afraid it is neither beloved by Remainers or Leavers".

Tomorrow, they vote on the Trade Bill - the one May's government is most anxious about.

Further challenges lay ahead as pro-EU Tory amendments to the Trade Bill go before MPs on Tuesday.

"We saw yesterday there is no majority for May's Chequers' agreement".

Half of Britons said the control she has over her party amounted to "not much", with 24% declaring that she had none whatsoever and just 19% thinking she had a "fair amount". She said that she and other senior Tory lawmakers favor a new vote.

Labour MP Mary Creagh also threw her weight behind a no vote, saying "this is no time for a holiday", while SNP MP Dr Philippa Whitford accused Mrs May of wanting an early recess "because she is running scared".

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The government did, however, lose a separate vote on its Trade Bill on the regulation of medicines after Brexit.

Arch-Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg said May faced the choice of rewriting her Brexit plans or splitting the Conservatives and scraping through on the back of opposition votes.

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

With Brussels expected to reject the government's proposals in the White Paper when Brexit talks resume next week, speculation is mounting that the United Kingdom could face a Brussels ultimatum to choose between a Norway-style deal inside the single market, or leave the European Union with no deal at all.

Tory grandee Sir Nicholas Soames tweeted: "I don't think in my 35 years as an MP that I have ever known such a truly unpleasant and deeply uncertain time in the House #soverydifficulttoseeawayaheadsorrytowhingebutitstrue".

"Others saying perhaps we cannot have the bill at all".

The North Cornwall MP had campaigned to leave the European Union before the referendum and in no analogy whatsoever is otherwise notable for being rescued from the sea by a Conservative colleague after he jumped in, too embarrassed to admit that he did not know how to swim.

Labour shadow chancellor John McDonnell said such a vote, listed for Tuesday evening, shows the Government is in "chaos". "There is not going to be a second referendum ... under any circumstances", the spokesman told reporters.

Parliament voted 318-285 to pass the bill.

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