Government avoids defeat on Brexit bill


The Tanaiste Simon Coveney will brief the Cabinet today on the status of Brexit negotiations.

They reassured anti-Brexit MPs that the government would accept some of their core demands to give parliament a meaningful say on the terms of Britain's European Union divorce, including - potentially - a new deadline for a deal to be agreed with Brussels that could make it hard for the government.

They believe that if there is no Brexit deal by the end of November, the government must clear its next course of action with MPs.

The meaningful vote is probably the most unsafe of the Lords amendments to the EU (Withdrawal) Bill - because it tees up an unpredictable vote on the final terms of Brexit, towards the end of this year, and opens up the possibility that MPs could demand that ministers change policy, in the event the terms were rejected by the House, or no deal was reached in the talks with the EU.... they could even demand (drumroll) a second referendum...

All of these amendments would see the UK's global trade arrangements continue to be dealt with from Brussels while keeping parliament and United Kingdom courts subject to a vast body of European Union law as well as bound by all future legislation.

The concession was prompted by an amendment from Dominic Grieve which demanded MPs had a bigger say on the final withdrawal agreement.

However, Devon Tory Sarah Wollaston signalled that she would back Mr Grieve's amendment.

"If the PM goes back on that there will be no agreed amendment that I can support #sortitplease". But for now, the government seems to have prevented an embarrassing defeat, and the Tory rebels have avoided the unpleasantness of colluding in the defeat of their Prime Minister.

Mr Buckland replied: "I entirely agree: the Government's policy is to achieve a deal because we are mindful of the points that he and others understand".

- PM avoids damaging "meaningful vote" defeat through new concessions.

But that fragile peace was already unravelling on Wednesday as two sides publicly clashed over what was or wasn't agreed in a last-minute meeting on Tuesday afternoon.

Theresa May is facing one of the biggest tests of her leadership, with Tory rebels threatening to vote against their own party to force through amendments to the bill. Similarly, the House of Commons also defeated an attempt by some government and opposition MPs to remove the "exit date" from the withdrawal bill. But there is going to be no binary choice of the deal on the table or no deal, with Parliament bypassed.

"If Grieve et al are correct, the Brexiteers can't stomach it".