May wins Brexit vote, avoids rebellion

Wednesday, 13 Jun, 2018

The European Union Withdrawal Bill, a complex piece of legislation meant to disentangle Britain from four decades of EU rules and regulations, has had a rocky ride through Parliament.

While promising "further discussions", he said he was concerned that empowering Parliament to "instruct" ministers what to do in the event of no deal would leave the United Kingdom in "very rocky constitutional territory". "We will now work with the government to get acceptable amendments tabled in the Lords to address this".

Mr. Lee resigned from the Ministry of Justice to back the amendment, saying parliament should be able to direct the government to change course. "The end of March 2019, we leave the E.U. Full stop". How does parliament have a say in those circumstances?

The SNP doesn't have any Lords because of an ideological disagreement with the concept of an unelected upper house - but it does have plenty of MPs in the Commons.

MPs will spend a total of 12 hours debating and voting on 14 Lords amendments to the EU Withdrawal Bill - six hours on Tuesday and six hours on Wednesday.

Remain-supporting Conservative MPs had threatened to defeat the government on an amendment to the bill which would have given Parliament a wide-ranging veto to May's Brexit deal, or even force a second referendum.

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. May's preferred approach is temporarily keeping the U.K.in some form of temporary customs union with the E.U., but this is unacceptable to hardline Brexiteers in her party.

"I am confident I can get a deal that allows us to strike our own trade deals while having a border with the European Union which is as frictionless as possible".

"That was the decision of the British people. and whatever we do, we're not going to reverse that", he told the BBC.

"What it does is put in place a structure if things do go as planned", she said.

"I trust the prime minister".

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

During a frantic day of discussions between ministers and Conservative backbenchers, potential rebels were eventually persuaded to back down when Solicitor General Robert Buckland told MPs that ministers were willing to "engage positively" with their concerns.

The amendment in question hinges on whether lawmakers will get a "meaningful" vote on Britain's membership of the European Union.

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

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.

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. 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.