British lawmakers vote to deny Parliament veto of Brexit deal
British lawmakers vote to deny Parliament veto of Brexit deal
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13 June, 2018, 19:02
U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May is in a frantic search for the flawless compromise.
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.
Remain rebels backed down in a Brexit showdown with the Government tonight after last-ditch concessions allowed Theresa May to win a crucial vote 324 to 298.
A statement from the Brexit ministry said the government had agreed to "look for a compromise".
One Tory Leaver said: "We need to know more about what exactly the prime minister has told the rebels".
The votes in the House of Commons, the elected chamber, could influence negotiations over the future relationship between the European Union and the United Kingdom after Brexit.
But while the well-worn arguments focusing on the nature of a meaningful vote were made, the real drama was taking place on the floor of the chamber where chief whip Julian Smith, solicitor general Robert Buckland and Brexit secretary David Davis as well as the Prime Minister's parliamentary private secretary (PPS) George Holingberry were in deep discussion with each other and Grieve, as they sought to avert an embarrassment for the government. Rebel ringleader Dominic Grieve had signalled he was prepared to lead a revolt and inflict a second Brexit defeat on the Government. "At the start of this process, we had no vote in Parliament on the final deal at all". It meant that the United Kingdom government successfully defeated the Lords amendment, 324 to 298, to the dismay of Labour and other opposition parties.
Talks will now be held between ministers and Tory MPs uneasy with the government's handling of Brexit, in the hope of reaching an agreement before the legislation is passed back to the House of Lords.
While in the end, only two Tory MPs - Ken Clarke and Anna Soubry - voted against the government, there were clashes over how much of a say Parliament should get as the United Kingdom leaves the European Union, with one side accusing the other of trying to "wreck" Brexit - and being accused in turn of being "zealots" who wanted to sideline Parliament.
The battle now moves to the House of Lords, where the government will formally reveal how much it has conceded in the wording of a new amendment expected on Monday or Tuesday.
The EU (Withdrawal) Bill would formally end Britain's membership of the bloc and transfer more than 40 years of European law onto the British statute books.
Earlier, May appeared to have also stemmed a rebellion on Wednesday over her commitment to leaving the EU's customs union which will transform Britain's trading relationships for decades to come.
If May is defeated in the House of Commons it will be yet another blow to a prime minister whose authority has been challenged several times since last year's election.
Ms. May's minority government relies on the support of Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party for a slender working majority in the 650-member Commons.
Matthew Pennycook, one of the opposition Labour Party's Brexit policy team, urged lawmakers to vote to hand parliament more powers.
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