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

Blanche Robertson
June 13, 2018

Theresa May is facing a potential revolt from two warring factions in her party, as both Brexiteers and Remainers remain locked in a fierce argument over a "meaningful vote" on the final Brexit deal.

Then, "MPs voted to reverse the Lords amendment removing the "exit day" from the bill by 326 votes to 301 - a majority of 25".

Moments later, MPs voted by 324 to 298 to reject a House of Lords amendment to the EU Withdrawal Bill which would have given Parliament the power to tell the PM to go back and renegotiate the Brexit deal she secures from Brussels.

Under the proposal, if no deal has been reached with Brussels by this point, the government will return to the House of Commons to determine the next course of action.

That is when Theresa May reportedly gave 15-20 Conservative "rebels" assurances that the government would accept the general meaning of Dominic Grieve's alternative amendment.

In a highly charged atmosphere in parliament, lawmakers who oppose the government said they had received death threats and brandished a copy of one of Britain's tabloid newspapers, the Daily Express, which ran a headline saying: "Ignore the will of the people at your peril".

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

Ivan Rogers, Britain's former ambassador to the European Union, told a committee of lawmakers Tuesday that achieving Brexit would "take years" and be "bloody hard".

In a day of drama at Westminster, ministers caved into the rebel demands for a "meaningful vote" on Brexit in order to prevent a defeat on the EU Withdrawal bill which could have triggered a leadership crisis for the prime minister.

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What happened to the Bill in the House of Lords?

Mr Grieve ended up voting with the Government - against his own amendment - and said he believes MPs will be offered a meaningful vote as promised by the Prime Minister.

Asked about what had been promised, Mr Buckland, the solicitor general, said the government remained "open-minded" but he would not "blithely" commit to any changes until he had had those conversations. "At the start of this process, we had no vote in Parliament on the final deal at all".

Bill revokes the 1972 Act which took the United Kingdom into the European Economic Area, but also transposes all relevant EU law into British statute so there are no holes in the law book at the point of Brexit.

Conservative lawmaker Phillip Lee resigned as a justice minister Tuesday so he could speak out against the policy on Brexit.

This included the House of Commons having to approve any government action in Brexit talks if it has not reached an exit deal with the European Union by the end of November.

The government has accepted one of the Lords amendments, allowing the United Kingdom to continue to co-operate with European Union agencies, which it says is already its policy.

"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". If the compromise fails, the rebels are likely to revert back to their original motion, which would potentially strip May of control over running the Brexit negotiations and hand it to Parliament, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

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