Published: Wed, June 20, 2018
Global | By Craig Ferguson

UK's May defeats final Brexit challenges

UK's May defeats final Brexit challenges

Mrs May met pro-EU Tories in her private room in the Commons moments before a crucial vote to hear their demands for a truly meaningful vote on the final exit deal.

The fall-out from Tuesday's vote, which the government won to wipe out a change that could have given parliament the power to force ministers back to the negotiating table, looked set to all but overshadow Wednesday's votes.

Lawmakers will vote on Tuesday and Wednesday this week on amendments to the European Union withdrawal bill, legislation to sever ties with the bloc by essentially copying and pasting the bloc's laws so that Britain's legal system can function after March.

May had faced the prospect of losing the vote on the customs union after rebels had indicated their support for a change introduced by the House of Lords to require ministers to report what efforts they had made to secure a customs union.

"The Brexit Secretary has set out three tests that any new amendment has to meet - not undermining the negotiations, not changing the constitutional role of Parliament and Government in negotiating global treaties, and respecting the referendum result".

The party's leadership argues that the move would not respect the spirit of the Brexit referendum result and leave Britain with no say over the rules it would have to follow.

Labour told pro-EU Conservative members of parliament that are thinking of rebelling against Mrs May to use the opportunity to "decisively shape the course of the negotiations".

"It's not practical, it's not desirable and it's not appropriate", Davis said.

"That includes cynically trying to frustrate the Brexit process for his own political ends, as he will try to do next week when the Commons votes again on the EU (Withdrawal) Bill".

He said Mrs May promised to table amendments in the House of Lords that will address their concerns.

And in a signal of deepening Tory tensions over Europe, Phillip Lee quit as justice minister hours before yesterday's vote in protest at the Brexit plans.

The rebels said on Tuesday they were told the promise made by the prime minister was "a matter of trust".

The fall-out from Britain's referendum vote in 2016 to leave the European Union has reshaped politics, deepening divisions within its main parties and raising tensions between its four nations - England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

MPs are set to stage an audacious power grab on Tuesday which could completely change the Government's Brexit strategy.

Bizarrely, this amendment actually returns the Government to its original position that the date of withdrawal from the European Union wouldn't be locked into the Bill.

'I hope very much the government will look at that, because I think it provides a solution which would satisfy everybody, ' he said.

A total of 89 Labour MPs defied Corbyn in the vote on this amendment, making it the party's biggest Brexit rebellion yet.

Britain is due to leave on March 29, 2019, and the bloc is frustrated with what it sees as a lack of firm proposals from the U.K about future relations.

A paper laying out the U.K. government position on future relations, due to be published this month, has been delayed until July because the Cabinet can not agree on a united stance.

A similar warning features on the front of the Daily Express, which runs with the headline: "Ignore the will of the people at your peril".

She is expected to come through the latest round of votes unscathed, with a potentially explosive clash over the customs union on Wednesday already defused by a compromise amendment.

The front pages of Leave-backing British newspapers said accepting the amendments would betray the 52 percent who backed Brexit in the seismic 2016 referendum.

"The objective of the EU Withdrawal Bill is simple - it is putting EU legislation into law to ensure a smooth and orderly transition as we leave".

He said a concession of this kind would been "revolutionary" as the Commons can not override the government when it came to negotiating global treaties.

"Parliament, don't stand against the people - implement their will!"

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