Wednesday, 20 June, 2018

Brexit: House of Lords EU Withdrawal Bill amendment voted down by MPs

The Foreign Minister said it was too early to say if the Trump Kim meeting could be deemed a success “but at least it’s a serious start” Source 1 NEWS
Jeannette Daniel | 13 June, 2018, 16:41

The logic of that argument is that EU negotiator Michel Barnier would prefer the softest of Brexits - a model known as "Norway plus", in which Britain remains in the European Economic Area (EEA) and the customs union, accepting all single market rules, including freedom of movement, and the EU's trade policy without any representation in Brussels. Lee, who voted for Britain to remain in the E.U.in the 2016 referendum, said in a statement he was "incredibly sad" to resign but did so in order to vote against the government's position on a key amendment to the bill.

Tuesday's Commons debate marked the start of the government's attempts to undo most of the changes to its EU Withdrawal Bill that were put forward by the House of Lords.

The UK will leave the European Union on 29 March next year.

On Tuesday, the Government avoided a potentially devastating defeat over the EU Withdrawal Bill, which would have otherwise seen unprecedented powers handed to MPs to reject the agreement reached with Brussels and to dictate the Prime Minister's next steps.

Theresa May must stand by assurances she gave to Conservative MPs to halt their rebellion over the European Union withdrawal bill or the Lords may bring a new amendment for rebels to back, leading members of the group have said.

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.

Hours before the debate began, a justice minister resigned in protest at what he called its "wish to limit" the role of parliament in shaping Brexit. "At the start of this process, we had no vote in Parliament on the final deal at all".

More news: Putin: Russia calls for strict implementation of JCPOA on Iran

"I expect the government to honour its commitments and I expect the PM to honour her commitments and I have no reason to distrust the approach she took with us", Mr Grieve told the BBC's Newsnight.

Her fellow Conservative backbencher Stephen Hammond said: "Parliament must be able to have its say in a "no deal" situation". A paper laying out the U.K. government position, due to be published this month, has been delayed because the Cabinet can not agree on a united stance.

Solicitor General Robert Buckland promised to work on the proposal taking into account concerns raised by former attorney general Dominic Grieve, a leading pro-European rebel.

"In Parliament, we had a vote for a referendum to give the people the choice".

He rejected suggestions ministers were already backtracking on promises made to MPs, insisting he did not want to raise any "false expectations".

Bill revokes the 1972 Act which took the United Kingdom into the European Economic Area, but also transposes all relevant EU law into British statute so there are no holes in the law book at the point of Brexit. If the compromise fails, the rebels are likely to revert back to their original motion, which would potentially strip May of control over running the Brexit negotiations and hand it to Parliament, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

In a day of drama, May's position seemed suddenly weaker when junior justice minister Phillip Lee, who has always been critical of the government's Brexit strategy, resigned and said he would vote against the government.

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