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Brexit: House of Lords EU Withdrawal Bill amendment voted down by MPs

13 June 2018

Sources have said the government is happy to implement the first two points and will discuss the last one.

Theresa May ultimately persuaded all but two of her MPs to back her in the decisive vote in Westminster on Tuesday - but she increasingly appears little more than a hostage to the warring factions in a bitterly divided Conservative party.

Exactly a year ago, it looked like May did not have long left in office.

Shortly before MPs began voting, Sandbach praised the government for making "important concessions".

Only 15 minutes was set aside for debating changes to devolved powers proposed by the Lords in the EU Withdrawal bill.

The House of Commons voted 324 to 298 to defeat an amendment to the EU (Withdrawal) Bill which would have removed her government's power to unilaterally walk away from talks with Brussels.

This assurance was enough to convince Tory rebels to vote with the government.

In what is likely to be a highly-charged appearance before the backbench 1922 Committee on Monday, the Prime Minister is expected to say that the way MPs vote will send a message.

So just hours after the concession, (or non-concession) very, very dark mutterings began from those who had been persuaded by what they thought was a promise.

"This isn't about narrow party politics", she told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

"If it were to turn out there was a problem, we will deal with it". She now relies on the support of a small Northern Irish party. "I am confident I can get a deal that allows us to strike our own trade deals while having a border with the European Union which is as frictionless as possible", she said.

Brexit supporters will be watching closely to see what concessions the government finally offers to the rebels.

But just an hour before the vote, due at around 1500 GMT, the government sought to compromise with senior pro-EU Conservative lawmaker Dominic Grieve, who had put forward his own amendment, which increased the risk of a government defeat. A paper laying out the U.K. government position, due to be published this month, has been delayed because the Cabinet can not agree on a united stance.

Asked about what had been promised, Mr Buckland, the solicitor general, said the government remained "open-minded" but he would not "blithely" commit to any changes until he had had those conversations.

"We are asking members of parliament to abide by the referendum result, our manifesto commitment and to back our country", Andrew Bridgen, Conservative lawmaker and Brexit campaigner, told Reuters. "There is an expectation that a discussion will yield fruit and I am not saying it won't".

MPs voted to reverse the Lords amendment removing the exit day from the bill, meaning that 29 March 2019 is again the exit day after the government made "lots" of concessions according to a parliamentary.

Remain-supporting Dr Lee quit as justice minister live on stage during a speech in London, saying he could not support "how our country's exit from the European Union looks set to be delivered".

In an earlier vote, MPs voted by 328 votes to 297 to disagree with another Lords amendment which was linked to changes to the day Britain leaves the EU.

Brexit: House of Lords EU Withdrawal Bill amendment voted down by MPs