Saturday, 23 June, 2018

Five Labour frontbenchers quit over Brexit vote

GETTY    
   REBELLION Six Labour MPs have resigned from the frontbench over a Brexit vote GETTY REBELLION Six Labour MPs have resigned from the frontbench over a Brexit vote
Jeannette Daniel | 14 June, 2018, 03:14

British Prime Minister Theresa May faces a showdown in parliament with lawmakers later on Tuesday who want a "meaningful vote" on an eventual Brexit deal and to set the government's "direction" if the house rejects the agreement.

The disagreement centres on whether the government agreed to consider a specific clause of the rebel proposal that would hand parliament control of the Brexit process if ministers are unable to strike an exit deal by February 15, 2019.

"We have not, and will not, agree to the House of Commons binding the Government's hands in the negotiations", the spokesman said.

Brexit backers see this clause as weakening the government's negotiating position, as they want May to be able to threaten to walk away.

Compared to the government's proposal, this is a shorter time to respond, and gives parliament a vote to approve the response.

That means that the prospect of a "no deal" Brexit is becoming increasingly unlikely.

Mrs May met pro-EU Tories in her private room in the Commons moments before a crucial vote to hear their demands for a truly meaningful vote on the final exit deal.

Lee, who was Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Ministry of Justice, has quit the front bench so he can vote against the government on the "meaningful vote" amendment.

Having been debated by both the lower house of parliament, the Commons, and the unelected upper house, the Lords, the bill is in its final stages.

Labour opposed the EEA model and introduced its own amendment, tabled by Sir Keir Starmer, which was defeated by 82 votes on Wednesday night.

PARLIAMENT TV    
     DIVIDED Corbyn told his MPs to abstain on the House of Lords amendment
PARLIAMENT TV DIVIDED Corbyn told his MPs to abstain on the House of Lords amendment

Talks with rebels will take place over coming days to negotiate a new form of words defining what say parliament will have over the process and will reveal how much ground May has given to the pro-Europeans.

Conservative Brexit campaigners have accused those in the party who indicated they would vote against the government of not respecting the referendum result. Many lawmakers said it seemed likely that Britain would have to remain in a customs union with the EU, even though the government insists it will leave.

Details of the government's commitment will have to be formalized next week in a new amendment to the bill.

However, May is anxious about the prospect of a rebellion by pro-EU Conservative MPs who are determined to retain as numerous changes as possible.

Brexit minister David Davis had earlier warned lawmakers that the government would never allow them to "reverse Brexit" or undermine negotiations.

74 Labour MPs rebelled to vote against disagreeing with the Lords EEA amendment and 15 rebelled to vote with the Government in agreeing to reject the Lords EEA amendment. The Lords' amendment, which MPs rejected, went further in requiring the withdrawal agreement to be placed on a statutory footing.

Speaking to City leaders, John McDonnell said: "We campaigned for Remain but many of our MPs, including myself, now represent seats which voted heavily Leave".

So the rebels might sit tight until July, when they will have another opportunity to force May to change direction and keep closer ties to the bloc.

On the meaningful vote, he said: "In all conscience, I can not support the Government's decision to oppose this amendment because doing so breaches such fundamental principles of human rights and Parliamentary sovereignty".

More news: Trade dispute has Canadian MPs standing together against US President Donald Trump

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