Parliament Rejects Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit Laws

21 June, 2018, 21:04 | Author: Diane Mills
  • Theresa May

A vote Monday night in the Lords over the wording of a "meaningful" vote on a Brexit deal, means MPs in the House of Commons will have a final vote on the issue on Wednesday.

They backed an amendment to the EU (Withdrawal) Bill, tabled by Viscount Hailsham, which would require the Government to allow MPs to vote on how it would proceed in the absence of a Brexit deal by January 21 next year.

Ministers have so far agreed to give parliament a symbolic vote on the government's strategy if its initial exit deal is rejected, but not to give lawmakers the power to force changes.

Without government support, the House of Lords (Abolition and Replacement) Bill faces little prospect of even being debated by MPs, let alone becoming law.

Last week, the prime minister avoided defeat on the issue - but the would-be rebels said they were not happy with the concessions they were subsequently offered in return for not voting against the government.

Brexit-backers oppose the amendment as they say it strips the government of negotiating leverage if it can't walk away, and they also think its proponents are trying to reverse the divorce.

Mr Grieve described the last minute adjustment as a "slap in the face" and said the rebel Tory MPs would only accept a "meaningful vote" and not the "slavery clause" the Government was now offering.

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A paper laying out the UK government position, due to be published this month, has been delayed because the Cabinet can not agree on a united stance.

Dominic Grieve, the former attorney general who heads up the pro-European faction, told BBC television that a future vote on a Brexit deal could see May tumble.

The minister leading those negotiations, Solicitor General Robert Buckland, said the ruling minority Conservative government was standing by its own proposal, rejected by party rebels last week.

But Mr Field said he would be urging ministers to allow it to be debated by the Commons in government time.

According to the parliamentary authorities, the House of Lords is made up of people from all walks of life who "use their experience from inside and outside of Parliament to check and challenge the Government". Parliament - which backs a softer Brexit than the one being pursued by the government - would be able to block a "no-deal" split.

"And part of that has got to be where, if (EU negotiator) Michel Barnier tries to give us a very bad deal, that she can turn around and say "no, I'd rather not do that".

"Ministers, the prime minister, in particular, have promised a meaningful vote, that promise has not been honoured", former minister Douglas Hogg, who said he had been in talks with Grieve since last week, told lawmakers as he introduced the amendment.



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