Don't tie our hands, says United Kingdom govt, as Brexit debate begins

Keir Starmer

Keir Starmer

Without this amendment, the Government could theoretically agree to keeping the Charter of Fundamental Rights, and then immediately challenge it after Brexit. "But if we face the prospect of a "meaningless process" rather than a "meaningful vote", Parliament will be enraged".

The Bill is now at the stage known as "ping pong". Conservative rebels, Labour, the SNP and the Lib Dems hailed the departure as a "principled" stand.

Here are the key amendments which MPs voted on Wednesday evening.

The Bracknell MP, who called for a second referendum on whatever deal Mrs May secures from the European Union, later told the Commons there was growing evidence that the Government's Brexit policy is "detrimental to the people we were elected to serve".

'Certainly it now seem inevitable that the people economy and culture of my own constituency will be affected negatively. "And I can not bring myself to vote for it in the bastion of liberty, freedom and human rights that is our Parliament".

The victory - by 324 votes to 298 - only came after public haggling between ministers and would-be rebels and a meeting between Mrs May and more than a dozen Tory MPs.

'So much classier to resign on principle when nobody is expecting it, than to threaten resignation but never follow through, ' he said.

In a few weeks, MPs will vote on another piece of Brexit-related legislation called the trade bill.

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The comments came after a leaked government document suggested Britain would be worse off under every Brexit scenario.

Earlier this year, Lee was disciplined by Conservative MPs for describing the government's Brexit policy of being based on "dogma" in a thread of Tweets.

"This justifies my decision to resign and makes it a lot less painful", said Dr Lee.

The Prime Minister's flagship legislation is on a knife edge as the government bids to reverse a slew of amendments imposed by the House of Lords.

It has been two years since Britain voted to exit the European Union, and there are eight months until the due to leave the bloc on March 29, 2019.

May objected to the amendment - inserted by the House of Lords - because she said it would tie her hands in the negotiation.

May and her ministers renewed appeals for unity over the "meaningful vote", after the government appeared to have secured a compromise to quell a potential rebellion on Wednesday over Britain's trading ties with the EU.

Mr Rees-Mogg told Newsnight that the concessions sought by Tories including Dominic Grieve would "gum up" negotiations with the EU.

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Last night Mrs May delivered a direct warning to backbench Tory MPs that any defeats would encourage Brussels to turn the screw.

Failure to appease the rebels would likely see May defeated in parliament in the coming weeks, blowing apart Tuesday's hard-won truce and badly undermining her leadership of a minority government and a divided political party. Asked whether the deal was 'kicking the can down the road, Mr Letwin said: 'That is a very sensible thing to do'.

The Prime Minister is now expected to get through the latest round of crunch Brexit votes unscathed, with a potentially explosive clash over the customs union on Wednesday already defused by a compromise amendment.

Meanwhile, Remain-backing Labour MPs made passionate arguments for Britain to stay in the EEA, telling the Commons it would save the economy from Brexit.

Passing the amendment would mean a major shift away from the UK's existing constitutional settlement - which gives the executive powers to negotiate treaties.

Mr Grieve said he hoped a compromise would be found and warned "this isn't the end of the matter" if that did not happen. The Government believes there is no need to copy over the Charter as it merely repeats much of United Kingdom law.

The government didn't lose a single vote yesterday out of 14. I've made that quite clear'.

"I absolutely trust what the Prime Minister says to us".

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It would also give hard Brexiteers the chance to "scupper a good deal", she claimed. "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.

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