United Kingdom government wins key Brexit parliamentary battle

13 June, 2018, 05:48 | Author: Wade Massey

May's Cabinet is divided between ministers including Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, who support a clean break with the European Union, and those such as Treasury chief Philip Hammond who want to keep close ties with the bloc, Britain's biggest trading partner.

So just hours after the concession, (or non-concession) very, very dark mutterings began from those who had been persuaded by what they thought was a promise. Philip Lee said a choice between "bad and worse" options was not giving MPs a meaningful vote.

Facing the prospect of losing a vote on a crucial amendment to the government's flagship Brexit legislation - which was created to empower parliament to vote down the final deal without risking a "no-deal" exit from the bloc - ministers intervened with a concession at the 11th hour even as MPs were wrapping up debate on the controversial measure.

Some lawmakers tried to shout him down and accused the government of wanting too much power.

In a tense afternoon in parliament, Remain MPs said they had received death threats and brandished a copy of the Daily Express newspaper, which ran a headline saying: "Ignore the will of the people at your peril".

Ukip leader Gerard Batten said: "The only "meaningful vote" was the verdict of the people in referendum of 23rd June 2016".

The votes of opposition lawmakers will also be important.

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

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Addressing Conservative backbenchers in Westminster on Monday evening, the Prime Minister warned if a series of Lords amendments to the EU Withdrawal Bill are approved by MPs, it will send the wrong message to Brussels.

The key vote which has taken place is whether MPs will have a "meaningful vote" - amendment 19 proposed by the Lords - on the final Brexit agreement. The two sides aren't yet clear exactly on the terms of their deal, but it looks likely that Parliament will emerge with a greater say in the process. The government earlier had said it would not support that amendment.

Earlier this year, Lee had called on the government to release its economic impact assessments of Brexit and suggested the government change tack in talks with the European Union, underlining the deep rifts in his party over the best way to manage Britain's exit.

Prior to the votes, the government suffered its first ministerial resignation over Brexit as Phillip Lee quit the Ministry of Justice so he could speak out freely.

Rebel Tories within Commons changed course and decide not to vote against the government.

On Tuesday, parliament will also debate other amendments, including a challenge to the government's plan to put March 29, 2019, or "Brexit Day", into law and an attempt to toughen a commitment to ensure a frictionless border between Northern Ireland and the neighbouring Irish Republic, which will remain in the EU.

Another flashpoint could come when lawmakers vote Wednesday on an amendment seeking to keep Britain in a customs union with the EU.

A Commons defeat on the issue would have been a significant blow to May's authority and risked triggering a leadership crisis for the prime minister.

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