Norfolk MP persuaded not rebel on Brexit by prime minister

13 June, 2018, 16:41 | Author: Wade Massey
  • A casket team carries the remains of U.S. Army Cpl. Robert E. Meyers a Korean War soldier at Arlington National Cemetery in 2015. Meyers' remains were identified decades after his unit was involved in combat operations near Sonchu North Korea

It is expected that Tuesday will see MPs decide whether Parliament should have the power to set the Government's negotiating goals if Theresa May's deal with Brussels is voted down.

The government averted a rebellion on Tuesday over whether Parliament should have a decisive say in such a scenario.

The BBC's political editor Laura Kuenssberg said she had been told by a government source that no actual concessions had been agreed, and the only agreement was to keep talking.

Former Attorney General Dominic Grieve had been a repeat rebel in previous debates, but he voted with the government after "personal assurances" from Theresa May - because he is "quite satisfied" MPs will end up with a meaningful vote anyway.

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".

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

The government's eleventh hour amendment, lifted in large parts from Tory Remainer Dominic Grieve's own proposal and to be presented to the Lords on Monday, is expected to give MPs the right to veto the government's strategy if it fails to secure a political agreement with the European Union by 30 November.

May objected to the amendment - inserted by the House of Lords - because she said it would tie her hands in the negotiation.

Passions ran high in Tuesday's three-hour debate, when angry eurosceptics accused their rivals of trying to undermine the 2016 referendum vote to leave the EU.

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"If it were to turn out there was a problem, we will deal with it".

"The question of what form parliamentary approval of the withdrawal bill takes is one of the most significant decisions this house will have to take", he said. "There could be a confidence motion [in the prime minister] or an early general election".

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

Issues most likely to provoke rebellions include the "meaningful vote" and the question of whether the date of Brexit should be written into law - both due this afternoon - as well as whether the United Kingdom should stay in the customs union or EEA, which should come early on Wednesday evening.

He rejected suggestions ministers were already backtracking on promises made to MPs, insisting he did not want to raise any "false expectations".

In a day of drama, May's position seemed suddenly weaker when junior justice minister Phillip Lee, who has always been critical of the government's Brexit strategy, resigned and said he would vote against the government.

Leading pro-EU Conservative Sarah Wollaston announced she would vote with the Government so long as a promised further amendment in the Lords "closely reflects" the Grieve proposals.

Labour's Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer said that the only reason May's government had decided on a climb down was because 'they thought they were going to lose the vote'.

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