U.K. Minister Phillip Lee Resigns Ahead of Brexit Bill Showdown

13 June, 2018, 19:01 | Author: Sheila Harris
  • 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”

There's no time to get the wording of the compromise text wrong because it will probably be debated and voted on in the House of Lords on Monday, according to one senior government official.

Brexit Secretary David Davis has warned Conservative Party rebels that proposals to give Parliament the power to direct negotiations with the European Union are simply a tactic to overturn the results of the 2016 referendum that mandated Britain's departure from the bloc.

The government won the first set of votes Tuesday, but looked set to face defeat on the issue of whether Parliament should have a "meaningful vote" on the Brexit deal.

May's divided cabinet has yet to settle on what sort of customs deal Britain should have with the European Union - an issue of crucial importance to businesses with cross-border supply chains, and the land border between European Union member state Ireland and the British province of Northern Ireland.

Under the proposal, if no deal has been reached with Brussels by this point, the government will return to the House of Commons to determine the next course of action.

May met with more than a dozen Tory would-be rebels shortly before the vote to reassure them, although exactly what she promised is in dispute.

Commenting after Tuesday's votes, Dr Lee said: "Delighted that the government has agreed to introduce an amendment to the EU Withdrawal Bill which will give Parliament the voice I always wanted it to have in the Brexit process".

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".

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Earlier, the prime minister had been hit by the resignation of justice minister Phillip Lee, who came out in support of a second referendum on the UK's final divorce deal and criticised Mrs May's Brexit policy.

The Lords amendment on a "meaningful vote" for MPs was defeated in the Commons by 324 to 298.

Brexit Secretary David Davis and Chief EU negotiator Michel Barnier. "I am confident I can get a deal that allows us to strike our own trade deals while having a border with the European Union which is as frictionless as possible", she said.

"The question of what form parliamentary approval of the withdrawal bill takes is one of the most significant decisions this house will have to take", he said.

The Brexit Department said in a statement that it would look for compromise, but would not agree to lawmakers "binding the government's hands" in negotiations.

On Wednesday, parliament will consider a challenge to May's commitment to leave the EU's single market and customs union, which will transform Britain's future trading relationships for many years to come. "There could be a confidence motion [in the prime minister] or an early general election".

Following the vote, shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer said: "Facing the prospect of a humiliating defeat Theresa May has been forced to enter negotiations with her backbenchers and offer a so-called concession".

The cumulative effect of 14 Lords amendments which the Government is seeking to overturn could be to "make it impossible to deliver the smooth and orderly exit we want", he warned.

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