Pro-EU lawmaker in Britain's Conservative party: 'We could collapse government'

18 June, 2018, 09:35 | Author: Sheila Harris
  • How Theresa May claimed her Brexit majority in the Lords' Amendments

The disagreement centers 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.

A spokeswoman for the Department for Exiting the European Union said the government's new amendment respected the tests set out by Brexit Secretary David Davis later on Tuesday evening, which state any compromise amendment must not undermine negotiations with Brussels or hinder the government's ability to negotiate global treaties in future.

An hour before the vote, the government's solicitor general, Robert Buckland, promised lawmaker Dominic Grieve talks on increasing the powers of parliament if May was unable to reach agreement in Brussels. "It is not in accordance with the normal procedures of the House of Commons and it totally negates the point of the amendment, which was to give MPs a say".

Before the vote, she assured lawmakers she would honour her promise and deal with the "concerns raised about the role of parliament in relation to the Brexit process".

Grieve said on BBC Question Time: "The difficulty and the anxiety is that we end up with a deal which is rejected by Parliament because it doesn't think it is good enough".

The Dudley South MP and staunch Brexiteer admitted he was frustrated that MPs were still "quibbling over process issues" which he said meant the European Union had barely had to bother entering into negotiations up to now.

The bill will now return to the upper House, where Lords can approve or reject this proposed compromise and attach further amendments to it.

"If the government can't get the most important treaty through Parliament we'll be looking for a new government", said Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Mr Tugendhat.

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The assurances resulted in putting down the potential rebellion, and saw May's Brexit amendments carry the day.

One of the most prominent Tory rebels, Dominic Grieve, last week said the government's actions were a "slap in the face".

Davis and May have argued that they can not accept anything which gives Parliament the power to bind their hands in negotiations with the European Union, or opens the door to lawmakers overturning the result of the 2016 Brexit referendum. Under this plan, if the government failed to reach an agreement, "they would have to seek the approval of MPs on their plan to break the deadlock".

Mr Grieve told the BBC: "We could collapse the Government, and I can assure you that I wake up at 2am in a cold sweat thinking about the problems that we have put on our shoulders".

"I understand the Govt has tabled an amendment that has not been agreed by Dominic Grieve", wrote Ms Soubry in a tweet.

In the House of Commons on Thursday morning, Labor's Brexit spokesman Sir Keir Starmer pressed Brexit Secretary David Davis on seemingly conflicting accounts of what the would-be rebels were offered.

Pro-EU lawmakers, however, welcomed it as a signal that the government was moving towards ruling out a hardline "no deal" Brexit. "Parliament can not - and should not - accept it". The Tory party was peaceful, if only for a night.

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