Published: Thu, June 14, 2018

Prime Minister hit by dramatic resignation as MPs debate Brexit

Prime Minister hit by dramatic resignation as MPs debate Brexit

Lawmakers supported the government's position to reject amendments to the EU withdrawal bill that challenged May's commitment to leave the bloc's customs union and single market, leaving the overall shape of her Brexit strategy intact that will transform Britain's trading relationships for decades.

The Prime Minister bought time after agreeing to find concessions on giving Parliament a meaningful vote on the European Union exit 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.

That said, while the government may have won the battle on customs, the war is still to come. The increasingly febrile atmosphere comes as pressure builds for a deal by October ahead of Britain's withdrawal from the European Union in March next year.

But Brexit campaigners feared it could weaken Britain's negotiating stance in talks to leave the EU.

Earlier on Tuesday the government suffered a setback as one minister resigned over what he called the government's plans to "limit" the role of parliament in shaping Brexit. But she faces a gruelling bout of "parliamentary ping-pong" with the Lords, as the Bill bounces back and forth between the two Houses over the coming weeks.

"This is the moment when we have to tell each other the truth", said Hilary Benn, a Labour lawmaker who voted for the EEA motion.

So it's worth remembering that while the government didn't lose any votes yesterday, Mrs May was forced into some embarrassing climb-downs that could come back to haunt her.

But while that vote seemed assured, tensions over Britain's departure from the European Union boiled over in parliament, where lawmakers from the Scottish National Party walked out in the middle of questions to the prime minister in protest at what their leader said was Scotland being ignored in the Brexit debate.


"We must under all circumstances respect the result of the referendum", Brexit Secretary David Davis told lawmakers as he opened the debate.

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

Here are the key amendments which MPs voted on Wednesday evening.

'But we are not voting with the government on this amendment because the Conservatives offer no plan for securing the full tariff free access to the EU's internal market, which is so vital for jobs and living standards in our country.

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

Labour split three ways as the Commons debated a Lords amendment to the EU (Withdrawal) Bill calling for EEA membership to remain on the negotiating table.

Following a meeting with May, the conservative MPs said they had been promised input into the terms of a new Brexit deal if the first is rejected, while one minister said he would only commit to further discussions.

So the rebels might sit tight until July, when they will have another opportunity to force May to change direction and keep closer ties to the bloc.

Arch Remainer Anna Soubry tweeted: "For the avoidance of doubt the PM said yesterday that clause c of Dominic Grieves amendment would be discussed as part of the new amendment to be tabled in the Lords. It is the Labour Party that is trying to stop us getting a deal for the British people".

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