Published: Wed, June 13, 2018

Government wins Brexit bill vote after concessions

Government wins Brexit bill vote after concessions

By a vote of 324 to 298, the House of Commons rejected a move to give lawmakers power to send the government back to the negotiating table if they don't like the terms of the Brexit deal struck with the EU.

Ms. May's minority government relies on the support of Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party for a slender working majority in the 650-member Commons. That has potentially seismic consequences for the protracted and increasingly messy split from Brussels.

Shortly before MPs began voting, Sandbach praised the government for making "important concessions".

A legally binding backstop is required by October if there's to be a Brexit deal. A victory for the "meaningful final vote" amendment would leave the government weaker in am upcoming round of talks with European Union negotiators in late June, and also weaken Theresa May's authority as leader. Philip Lee said a choice between "bad and worse" options was not giving MPs a meaningful vote. "A meaningful vote is not the ability to reverse the decision of the referendum".

The upshot of the shift may well be as dramatic as the parliamentary procedure is incomprehensible.

The bill will then go back to the Lords on Monday.

"They are going to work with us to put together an amendment package so when the bill goes to the Lords it will satisfy us and I have the confidence that we will come to an agreed position". That clause - drafted by Grieve - basically hands a lot of power to Parliament if no deal has been agreed by the end of November.

"There is an incentive for the European Union to reach a deal with us for obvious reasons of stability and certainty".

The Prime Minister made a bid to break the deadlock on Thursday with a proposal for a temporary customs union arrangement between the whole of the United Kingdom and the EU.


If the government fails to pass the bill as it is, it will be forced to change what it asks for in negotiations with the European Union -undermining May's position and possibly threatening her job as Prime Minister.

Asked about what had been promised, Mr Buckland, the solicitor general, said the government remained "open-minded" but he would not "blithely" commit to any changes until he had had those conversations.

Brexiteers were dejected by the turn of events, but are pinning their immediate hopes on the detail in the government's compromise. The prime minister still has time to come up with a form of words acceptable to both sides, but the expectations of the anti-Brexit rebels have been raised significantly.

The government averted a rebellion on Tuesday over whether Parliament should have a decisive say in such a scenario. Yes, it's a significant compromise but we live to fight another day.

The bloc's Brexit negotiators have published an analysis of the Prime Minister's plans which suggests strongly that they will not be accepted.

Also on Tuesday, the government successfully overturned an attempt to remove the date of Brexit from the face of the bill.

Following the vote, shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer said: "Facing the prospect of a humiliating defeat Theresa May has been forced to enter negotiations with her backbenchers and offer a so-called concession".

The new concession is likely to prove hugely controversial with Brexit-supporting MPs, some of whom have told BI that they intend to oust May if she "backslides" any more on Brexit.

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