May's Brexit plans set for Lords defeat, teeing up showdown

Geraldine Edwards
June 19, 2018

Nevertheless, they insist parliament can not be allowed to overturn Brexit or tie the government's hand is negotiations.

Robert Buckland, the Solicitor General, insisted United Kingdom ministers intended to press on with their own meaningful vote amendment, which suggested a Government motion on the final deal could not be amended; rebels believe this means the meaningful vote would, therefore, not be meaningful.

"Promises were made in good faith, that's what they said from the despatch box and then surprise surprise Theresa May goes back to Number 10, turns on a dime, and now we've got a real mess and a real battle coming this week between the House of Lords and the Commons".

The upper House of Lords, which wants to keep Britain close to the European Union after the United Kingdom leaves in March, will rake over the EU (Withdrawal) Bill on Monday, before it returns to the lower House of Commons on Wednesday.

Leading pro-EU Conservative Dominic Grieve told the Press Association: "It is unacceptable in my view".

He told BBC One's Sunday Politics: 'We could collapse the government'.

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But Tory rebels later rejected the wording to the Government's "meaningful vote" amendment and said it would give MPs no chance to prevent a "no deal" Brexit if there is no agreement with Brussels by January 21, 2019.

"We could collapse the government, and I assure you I wake up at 2:00 am in a cold sweat thinking about the problems that we have put on our shoulders", he said.

An added risk for the pro-EU Conservative rump is that if May does fall, it could open the door for an arch-Brexiteer to take over the party, and thereby the premiership.

The row centers on what happens if parliament rejects the initial exit deal May and her team negotiate with Brussels.

"We will be free to negotiate those trade deals around the rest of the world".

The rebels are holding out for more, warning that they could bring down the government.

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However, the amendment to the EU Withdrawal Bill tabled on Thursday leaves Parliament facing a "deal or no deal" choice.

In what threatens to be a bloody round of "parliamentary ping-pong", amendments backed by the Lords will bounce back to the Commons on Wednesday.

However, her Tory colleagues Dominic Grieve made it clear the Conservative rebels did not intend to back down on getting Parliament more say on Brexit.

The amendment drawn by the United Kingdom government speaks of merely an advisory rather than a meaningful vote.

Ahead of the Lords debate tomorrow, Lord Newby, who leads the Liberal Democrats in the upper chamber, accused Mrs May's plans on the Brexit bill as "breathtaking in their arrogance and deceit".

"Parliament must be given a meaningful vote on all possible outcomes of Brexit - and this must be guaranteed in writing".

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Ministers are seeking approval for the final wording of the legislation that will end Britain's membership of the European Union next year, but have fallen into a bitter row with pro-European lawmakers who want parliament to have a say in the exit process if talks in Brussels fail to reach an acceptable deal.

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