Wednesday, 19 September, 2018

Theresa May suffers setback as justice minister resigns over Brexit policy

Brexit news: Jeremy Corbyn faces revolt as five Labour MPs resign | Daily Star EU Withdrawal Bill debate: Day 1
Andrew Cummings | 22 June, 2018, 12:32

MPs will vote again on the issue later in the summer.

LONDON - Theresa May avoided defeats on key pillars of her Brexit policy after a majority of MPs voted with the United Kingdom government to defeat a number of amendments on Wednesday evening.

The Prime Minister was speaking as she confirmed that the Government will table a new amendment to her flagship EU Withdrawal Bill, setting out in more detail the terms of the "meaningful vote" promised to MPs on the final Brexit deal. Many felt this was nowhere near enough time to really get to grips with so many points - especially given the importance of numerous amendments.

The Commons decisively rejected the Lords amendment 324 votes to 298, with cheers from the Tory benches as the result was delivered.

If confirmed, the move represents a dramatic climbdown from Mrs May's original plan to offer MPs a "take it or leave it" vote to accept the withdrawal agreement or leave the European Union without a deal.

The Totnes MP said she was "minded" to rebel to support a Lords amendment on giving Parliament a meaningful vote on an exit deal, telling the BBC: "We would like to see further concessions on the amendment on the customs union because it is just a very sensible amendment that says keep it on the table, don't completely rule it out".

Solicitor general Robert Buckland appealed for unity, saying: "There's ongoing work happening and I think it's emblematic, actually, of a real sense of common objective in the party that we all hang together or we all hang separately".

Davis warned lawmakers the government would never allow them to "reverse Brexit" and called on them to back its own amendment, which proposes a 28-day breathing space if parliament rejects a Brexit deal, during which the government would have to make a statement on its plans.

However, they face a revolt by pro-EU Tory MPs determined to retain as numerous changes as possible in the legislation.

Rebels had been pushing for an amendment that would have given Parliament unprecedented powers over the final stages of Brexit talks.

The amendment on the customs union probably has majority support in the House of Commons, but the clause is so loosely worded that the government doesn't consider it binding.

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This amendment had looked unsafe for the prime minister.

May's spokesman James Slack said Monday that a promised document setting out the government's negotiating position would not be released before a June 28-29 European Union summit, as previously planned.

That said, while the government may have won the battle on customs, the war is still to come.

Dr Lee was was slapped down by Downing Street in January after breaking ranks to express concern about the economic impact of Brexit on the UK.

"I think it would be fairly certain that one of the members of the House of Lords would find a way to put down Dominic's original wording, that couldn't be voted on yesterday".

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. But it also knows that Labour's divisions on Europe are eclipsed by the divisions on the other side of the aisle.

"This Government is delivering on the decision made by the country in the referendum to leave the European Union and we will not accept anything that prevents us from taking back control of our money, laws and borders".

"That is why Labour governments have always addressed these problems by properly funding the NHS, by having a national minimum wage, investing in our schools and so on".

But five parliamentary private secretaries (PPS) voted in favour of the EEA amendment; Ged Killen, Ellie Reeves, Tonia Antoniazzi, Anna McMorrin and Rosie Duffield, with all but Ms Duffield announcing their resignation before the vote.

Prior to the vote, Labour's staunch pro-EU MPs - such as Chuka Umunna and Owen Smith - pleaded with the leadership to embrace the Norway option, as they believe it's the best chance retain full access to the single market.

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