Published: Wed, June 13, 2018

British PM avoids Brexit defeat in knife-edge parliament vote

British PM avoids Brexit defeat in knife-edge parliament vote

Earlier, Mrs May was hit by the resignation of justice minister Phillip Lee, who quit the Government live on stage during a speech in London in order to be able to back Mr Grieve's amendment.

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.

The Lib Dems, who identify strongly as an anti-Brexit party to the point of pushing for a second referendum and running by-elections in Remain-friendly seats on that platform, opposed the Government.

Lee said "the people, economy and culture of my constituency will be affected negatively" by Britain's European Union departure, and it is "irresponsible to proceed as we are".

Speaking to a packed meeting of Tory MPs - including Chancellor Philip Hammond, Brexit Secretary David Davis and Environment Secretary Michael Gove - May said: "We must think about the message Parliament will send to the European Union this week".

"The decision was taken by the people, we gave them that decision and we have to stand by it", said Conservative MP Bill Cash.

The vote came on the first of two days of high-stakes debate and votes in the House of Commons on the government's flagship Brexit bill.

"We have not, and will not, agree to the House of Commons binding the government's hands in the negotiations".

At the very least, Grieve and his colleagues have succeeded in throwing up a series of new parliamentary barriers to a no-deal Brexit.


May's fragile government will be trying to defeat a rebellion by pro-EU lawmakers and reverse changes to its key piece of Brexit legislation as the matter comes before the House of Commons.

Grieve told MPs: "If we don't achieve a deal at all, the fact is we are going to be facing an vast crisis".

Remain-supporting Conservative MPs had threatened to back an amendment to the bill which would have given parliament a more widespread veto.

Dismissing the Government's compromise, she tweeted: "Merely issuing a statement in response would make it a meaningless final vote".

"Grieve's amendment puts that right and in a way Govt could and should accept it".

She said unless there was a "meaningful vote" Parliament would be left with "the grim choice between a poor deal and exit with no deal at all".

It would also give hard Brexiteers the chance to "scupper a good deal", she claimed.

"Where some of its most senior people who hold the greatest offices of state, at every twist and turn, when our Prime Minister moves towards securing a Brexit that will serve everybody in our country, the softest, most sensible Brexit, both publicly and privately they undermine her and scupper her attempts".

Like this: