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UK Brexit minister says parliament vote cannot reverse Brexit

13 June 2018

British Prime Minister Theresa May narrowly avoided a major blow to her Brexit strategy Tuesday after MPs rejected a plan that would have given parliament a veto on the final deal negotiated with Brussels.

But these putative pledges by the PM are inconsistent with Tuesday night's statement by Davis's officials that any new amendment relating to the power of MPs to accept or reject a Brexit deal must not restrict her negotiating freedom - or restrict her ability to sign whatever treaty with the European Union she would like.

As with last week's set-to with Davis over the Northern Irish backstop, both sides of the Brexit culture war in the Tory party were nearly immediately in dispute about what the climbdown meant - and who had won.

Now the focus shifts to the price of the rebels' compliance, and it could be a high one for the beleaguered prime minister.

But in a last-ditch concession by the Government to swerve a revolt, the PM is indicating that it will put forward two of the three parts of Mr Grieve's amendment when the bill returns to the House of Lords. This might convince some wavering "rebels" to back the government in order to save May and prevent Boris Johnson, the current foreign secretary and a leading so-called "Brexiteer", from seeking to replace her.

"We have not, and will not, agree to the House of Commons binding the government's hands in the negotiations". "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. The upper chamber, the House of Lords, inserted amendments in 15 areas to soften the departure.

In a concession, the government promised that lawmakers would have a say on what to do next if there is no agreement with the European Union, or if Parliament rejects the deal offered. "I can not support the government's decision to oppose this amendment because doing so breaches such fundamental principles of human rights and parliamentary sovereignty", he said.

Phillip Lee, who resigned this morning, gave an impassioned speech from the "naughty corner" on the backbenches - flanked by Remainers including Bob Neill, Nicky Morgan, receiving congratulations for his decision by Soubry and Sarah Wollaston.

Despite depending on the votes of the 10 DUP MPs for her precarious Commons majority, there were signs of cautious optimism among ministers that they would get the numbers to see off the revolt.

MPs were told that one parliamentarian had to be accompanied to a public meeting by a six armed police officers because of threats over their stance on Brexit.

Although their compromise offer bought off other potential Tory rebels, the government later issued a series of red lines they would not cross in trying to appease backbenchers.

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

Ahead of the crucial votes, Brexit Secretary David Davis warned MPs that defeat would undermine the UK's negotiating stance in Brussels.

May objected to the amendment - inserted by the House of Lords - because she said it would tie her hands in the negotiation.

Tory MPs are to discuss with ministers what will happen in the event of a no-deal Brexit - amid calls for Theresa May to honour "assurances" to them.

Shortly before MPs began voting, Sandbach praised the government for making "important concessions". "That's what this House voted on Article 50". The victory was Pyrrhic, as the government's earlier climbdown all but ensures MPs will have an increased say on the terms of any deal.

UK Brexit minister says parliament vote cannot reverse Brexit