Prime Minister hit by dramatic resignation as MPs debate Brexit

Blanche Robertson
June 13, 2018

"It's not practical, it's not desirable and it's not appropriate", Davis said.

Davis said this was a "no Brexit amendment" that amounted to "an unconstitutional shift that risks undermining our negotiations with the European Union".

The government's victory was the first major win in two days of debates on its European Union withdrawal bill, which will sever ties with the European Union, after the upper house of parliament, the House of Lords, introduced 15 changes. At this point, the main way in which a no-deal Brexit might happen is if the process simply runs out of time and the United Kingdom is unable to get Article 50 extended.

She could be heard being cheered from outside the room in parliament where lawmakers from both sides of the debate, including some of her ministers, gathered on the eve of the votes.

Fellow MP Antoinette Sandbach rejected suggestions by leading Brexiteers in her party that this would tie the prime minister's hands in negotiations.

Rebel leader Dominic Grieve tabled a last-minute compromise amendment last night, which scaled back the demands of the House of Lords position but which would give MPs the power to block a no-deal Brexit.

Opposition Labour lawmaker Chuka Umunna had earlier accused Britain's tabloids of intimidation, holding up Tuesday's edition of the eurosceptic Daily Express.

The frontpages of Leave-backing British newspapers said accepting the amendments would betray the 52% who backed Brexit in the seismic 2016 referendum.

The text needs to honor her pledge to pro-EU Tories that she'll take account of their concerns over the possibility of leaving the bloc without a deal.

"The prime minister said that the votes were important in terms of the message they send to Brussels", May's spokesman said she told her cabinet team of ministers.

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"But if the Lords amendments are allowed to stand, that negotiating position will be undermined".

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. Anti-Brexit MPs had argued that removing the no-deal effect was necessary for the vote to be a meaningful one.

Mr. Lee resigned from the Ministry of Justice to back the amendment, saying parliament should be able to direct the government to change course.

Rebels had been pushing for an amendment that would have given Parliament unprecedented powers over the final stages of Brexit talks.

One government official said: "It's not over yet".

Following a meeting with Theresa May, Tory MPs said they had been promised "input" into what the government would do if the United Kingdom faced a no-deal scenario.

He confirmed that ministers will seek to overturn 14 amendments which he said would undermine the goal of the Bill and fail to respect the result of the 2016 referendum.

Earlier, the prime minister had been hit by the resignation of justice minister Phillip Lee, who came out in support of a second referendum on the UK's final divorce deal and criticised Mrs May's Brexit policy.

The concession on a meaningful vote came after intensive horse-trading on the floor of the House of Commons, with chief whip Julian Smith shuttling between Tory backbenchers during debate on Lords amendments to the EU Withdrawal Bill.

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.

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