Published: Thu, June 14, 2018
Worldwide | By Jermaine Blake

Ministers win key Brexit bill vote after concession

Ministers win key Brexit bill vote after concession

It was a second win for May after she persuaded rebels in her Conservative party on Tuesday to reject a Lords amendment that would have allowed parliament to block the government from leaving the European Union with no deal.

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.

These were the words of a minister expecting to win the vote.

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.

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'.

Attempts to keep the United Kingdom in the European Economic Area after Brexit have been defeated in the House of Commons, amid a major Labour revolt over the issue.

However, May made a last minute offer to enter talks about accepting the bulk of an alternative rebel amendment which would give MPs more limited powers to prevent Britain from crashing out of the European Union without a deal.

Supporters of this policy argue it would protect British jobs and go some way to preserving the invisible Irish border, while detractors point out it would prevent Britain from signing its own trade deals after it has left the EU.

Whether he's the midwife, as Mr Miliband fears, or in bed with the prime minister, as Sir Vince Cable claims, Mr Corbyn has made Theresa May's task a whole lot easier. But it was forced to offer Tory rebels some big concessions.

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The government says the United Kingdom will leave the bloc's customs union, but many businesses fear that will mean tariffs or other barriers to British goods in Europe.

Leading rebel Dominic Grieve said he hoped a compromise would be found, but if not, "this isn't the end of the matter".

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

The Lords amendment would force the government to prioritise an EEA deal - the so-called Norway Model - in negotiations with the EU. Illustrating the divisions in the party, Smith resigned in order to vote against the EEA.

They were also told the first two parts of Grieve's amendment - including that MPs will have a veto on what do to if an agreement can't be reached by 30 November - would be considered with a view to being tabled to the Lords. However, the party is divided on the issue, with a total of 89 Labour MPs choosing to defy Corbyn.

'Ged Killen MP, Ellie Reeves MP, Tonia Antoniazzi MP and Anna McMorrin MP have resigned from PPS roles'.

On Wednesday, parliament will consider a challenge to May's commitment to leave the EU's single market and customs union, which will transform Britain's future trading relationships for many years to come.

Five Labour MPs - Ronnie Campbell, Frank Field, Kate Hoey, John Mann and Graham Stringer - voted with the government.

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