Wednesday, 15 August, 2018

Prime Minister hit by dramatic resignation as MPs debate Brexit

Britain's Secretary of State for Education Minister for Women and Equalities Nicky Morgan Tory Remainers Threaten Open Rebellion if May Reneges on Brexit Vote Pledge
Jeannette Daniel | 14 June, 2018, 07:59

Labour split three ways as the Commons debated a Lords amendment to the EU (Withdrawal) Bill calling for EEA membership to remain on the negotiating table.

Yesterday a minister unexpectedly resigned over the government's Brexit strategy, but one of his constituents is still absolutely fuming about it.

In a highly charged atmosphere in parliament, lawmakers who oppose the government said they had received death threats and brandished a copy of one of Britain's tabloid newspapers, the Daily Express, which ran a headline saying: "Ignore the will of the people at your peril".

"The prime minister said that the votes were important in terms of the message they send to Brussels", May's spokesman said she told her cabinet team of ministers.

Another flashpoint could come when lawmakers vote Wednesday on an amendment seeking to keep Britain in a customs union with the EU.

'The Labour party respects the outcome of the European Union referendum and does not support the EEA or Norway model as it is not the right for option for Britain.

But Britain - and its government - remain divided over Brexit, and European Union leaders are frustrated with what they see as a lack of firm proposals from the U.K about future relations.

But in extraordinary scenes, ministers were forced to offer last-minute compromises to pro-European MPs before holding private talks in corners of the chamber as the debate raged on.

More news: Garmin Vivoactive 3 Music brings the tunes to your wrist

Today the government avoided an embarrassing defeat on a key Brexit vote by offering concessions to Remainer Tory MPs. The government earlier had said it would not support that amendment.

You might never have heard of him, but Phillip Lee, a minister, has just resigned from his job in government in public over what he described as the government's "detrimental" Brexit policy.

The government was putting a combative spin on the concessions Tuesday evening: "The Brexit Secretary has set out three tests that any new amendment has to meet - not undermining the negotiations, not changing the constitutional role of Parliament and Government in negotiating worldwide treaties, and respecting the referendum result", a spokesperson for the Brexit department said in a statement.

But it has secured victory on all the other votes so far on Tuesday, including a challenge to the government's plan to put March 29, 2019, or "Brexit Day".

There was little doubt the government would win on the customs union and single market, which some pro-EU lawmakers say is the only way for Britain to retain economically advantageous close ties with the bloc, with the opposition Labour Party also divided over future relations.

Sarah Wollaston, a prominent Tory Remain rebel, has indicated that she will accept this pledge from the Government, and will therefore not be voting against her party. She now relies on the support of a small Northern Irish party.

The issue seen as most likely to provoke a rebellion was that of giving MPs a "meaningful vote" on the final Brexit deal.

But rebelling on the bill for the first time, Hilary Benn, the former shadow foreign secretary, who chairs the Commons cross-party Brexit committee, said there comes a point where "we have to stand up and be counted".

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