May's Brexit Bill Returns: A Guide to the Main Voting Battles


May's Brexit Bill Returns: A Guide to the Main Voting Battles

"Any compromise [amendment] would have to be tabled by Govt in Lords".

British Prime Minister Theresa May has been warned by leading members of her own Conservative Party that she will face a rebellion from her own ranks in a vote next week on the government's European Union withdrawal legislation if she reneges on a pledge to give Parliament a vote on the final outcome of the Brexit negotiations.

Following its defeat, the government's own version of the amendment will now go forward.

However, leading Brexiteer Tory MPs and ministers have suggested May had only agreed to further discussions on supporting Tory rebel Dominic Grieve's amendment.

There was little doubt the government would win on the customs union and single market, which some pro-EU lawmakers say is the only way for Britain to retain economically advantageous close ties with the bloc, with the opposition Labour Party also divided over future relations.

The Lords EEA amendment was rejected by 327 votes to 126, a majority of 201, in a victory for Prime Minister Theresa May.

Labour's Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer said that the only reason May's government had decided on a climb down was because 'they thought they were going to lose the vote'.

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.

Facing the prospect of losing a vote on a crucial amendment to the government's flagship Brexit legislation - which was created to empower parliament to vote down the final deal without risking a "no-deal" exit from the bloc - ministers intervened with a concession at the 11th hour even as MPs were wrapping up debate on the controversial measure.

Remainer Stephen Hammond said a group of potential rebels - believed to number 15-20 - received assurances from the PM moments before the key vote.

Asked on BBC Radio 4's Today programme what would happen under Government plans if MPs voted against the deal eventually secured by Mrs May, Mr Davis said: "If they throw it out, well, they throw it out".

He said: "Theresa May has gone back on her word and offered an amendment that takes the meaning out of the meaningful vote".

The pro-European cause was boosted when junior justice minister Phillip Lee, a friend of May's, resigned shortly before the debate in order to back the veto amendment.

The most contentious was the bid to give Parliament the power to tell the government what to do if the Brexit deal was voted down or no agreement was reached. "And I can not bring myself to vote for it in the bastion of liberty, freedom and human rights that is our Parliament".

After the vote, a Brexit department spokesman said: "We have not, and will not, agree to the House of Commons binding the government's hands in the negotiation".

Last night Mrs May delivered a direct warning to backbench Tory MPs that any defeats would encourage Brussels to turn the screw.

"The question is how do we take some sensible steps to anticipate that happening and try to make sure that there is a coherent process for dealing with it".

"Time will tell as to whether this is just another attempt to buy off the rebels or a real attempt at consensus".

Compared to the government's proposal, this is a shorter time to respond, and gives parliament a vote to approve the response.

He also insisted he wanted to "speak up for his constituents" - even though Eurosceptics pointed out his Bracknell seat voted 53 per cent to Leave in the referendum.