House of Lords rejects PM May's Brexit plan on 'meaningful vote'
Jun 19 2018
"The Government's position has not moved since last year's white paper, and even Labour's manifesto was quite clear that free movement of people is not consistent with Brexit, and that we must have the freedom to conclude worldwide trade deals".
The proposal passed on Monday will now be voted upon in the lower House of Commons on Wednesday, with the pro-EU camp still seeking compromise but warning they could collapse the government unless their demands are met.
"I'm quite satisfied that we are going to get a meaningful vote on both "deal" and "no deal", Grieve told Sky News. Pro-Brexit MPs argue that this would tie ministers' hands at a crucial stage, and accuse the pro-EU side of manipulating the process to secure the softest of Brexits. Allegedly Remain-leaning Tory MPs were furious and it set the scene for another big showdown when the bill returns to Parliament next week.
Prime Minister Theresa May had convinced most rebels - who want MPs to have the final say - to back her in a key vote on Tuesday night by giving them assurances.
May today said: "I listened to their concerns and I undertook to listen to their concerns".
"The alternative is that we have all got to sign up to a slavery clause now saying whatever the government does, when it comes to January, however potentially catastrophic it might be for my constituents, and my country, I'm signing in blood now that I will follow over the edge of the cliff. I hope they listen to me when I say I don't understand why you've done this last-minute switch", he added.
Mr Buckland stressed that while Tory rebels argued the vote they wanted would only be advisory, he stressed that even this vote could have a political outcome and send a signal to Brussels that the UK Government was not in control of its own negotiating strategy. But the wording of the promised compromise has now been published.
But the latest manoeuvre by a minority government that has been forced to compromise with parliament anxious some lawmakers who feared it would hand the European Union an incentive to withhold any agreement on an exit deal to force a "softer" Brexit.
Mr Grieve indicated the final text of the amendment tabled by ministers on Thursday had been changed from the wording which he believed had been agreed earlier in the day.
In a day of drama, May's position seemed suddenly weaker when junior justice minister Phillip Lee, who has always been critical of Brexit strategy, resigned and said he would vote against the government.
Crucially, the motion will be unamendable, meaning MPs can not insert a requirement for Mrs May to go back to the negotiating table, extend the Brexit transition or revoke the UK's withdrawal under Article 50.
After an ill-judged election a year ago, May relies on the help of a deal with a small Northern Irish party to win votes in the Commons and can afford to lose no more than a handful of Conservative rebels if she is to avoid an embarrassing defeat.