United Kingdom justice minister resigns over Brexit ahead of key votes

13 June, 2018, 16:41 | Author: Myra Gill
  • GETTY AND DAILY EXPRESSDEMOCRACY 17.4 million people voted in favour of Brexit

Ms. May has said a government defeat would weaken its hand in exit talks with the European Union.

The motion to reject the Lords amendment, which would have given MPs control over the government's negotiation strategy and the final exit deal, therefore passed by 324 votes to 298 - a majority of 26 votes.

His pro-European colleague Anna Soubry hit back that hardline eurosceptics were seeking to "take us over the cliff of hard Brexit".

Just three hours later, ministers caved in. He said he would vote against the prime minister.

May also told them she would try to capture another of their concerns, as enshrined in Grieve's amendment to the EU Withdrawal bill - which would much more explicitly give MPs the whip hand in Brexit talks, if May has still not done a deal with the EU by February next year.

Some lawmakers tried to shout him down and accused the government of wanting too much power.

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. The U.K. voted to leave the political and economic bloc of 28 nations in June 2016.

A victory for the "meaningful final vote" amendment would leave the government weaker in am upcoming round of talks with European Union negotiators in late June, and also weaken Theresa May's authority as leader.

But after meeting Mrs May he told this paper: "I've been to see the prime minister and received important undertakings and made a decision to vote to give the prime minister the authority and freedom to negotiate the best deal she can".


After it was not clear whether that would win over potential rebels, a minister offered Grieve a compromise to discuss parts of his amendment that the government could adopt - a move aimed at warding off a potential rebellion led by the lawmaker.

The amendment would effectively give MPs the power to prevent the United Kingdom from opting to crash out of the European Union without a Brexit deal and is a major victory for Remain-supporting MPs in parliament.

The government was putting a combative spin on the concessions Tuesday evening: "The Brexit Secretary has set out three tests that any new amendment has to meet - not undermining the negotiations, not changing the constitutional role of Parliament and Government in negotiating global treaties, and respecting the referendum result", a spokesperson for the Brexit department said in a statement.

"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.

Prior to the votes, the government suffered its first ministerial resignation over Brexit as Phillip Lee quit the Ministry of Justice so he could speak out freely.

A section of Labour MPs are expected to defy the official party position and vote in favor of a Lords amendment to keep the United Kingdom in a Norway-style trading arrangement, better known as the European Economic Area (EEA), post-Brexit.

But once Britain leaves the E.U.it must find a way to regulate or otherwise account for goods crossing its border into Northern Ireland while keeping it open.

But May won a key vote in parliament on Tuesday with a compromise on plans to give lawmakers a "meaningful" vote later this year on the terms of Britain's exit from the EU.

Fellow MP Antoinette Sandbach rejected suggestions by leading Brexiteers in her party that this would tie the prime minister's hands in negotiations.

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