After winning Brexit compromise, UK's pro-EU rebels fear betrayal

Leroy Wright
June 13, 2018

Opening debate on the flagship EU Withdrawal Bill in the House of Commons, Mr Davis warned that the "cumulative effect" of a series of Lords amendments would "make it impossible to deliver the smooth and orderly exit we want".

Rebel leader Dominic Grieve tabled a last-minute compromise amendment last night, which scaled back the demands of the House of Lords position but which would give MPs the power to block a no-deal Brexit.

Theresa May has suffered a ministerial resignation ahead of crunch Commons votes on Brexit, with Phillip Lee hitting out at the Government's "irresponsible" approach.

The government was forced into a major compromise on Tuesday when it had to agree to give parliament a greater role in Brexit negotiations to avert a defeat at the hands of rebels from her own party who want to keep close European Union ties after Britain leaves the bloc in March next year.

"The Government's amendment today provides for a meaningful vote".

The Prime Minister made a bid to break the deadlock on Thursday with a proposal for a temporary customs union arrangement between the whole of the United Kingdom and the EU.

Conservative Remainer Anna Soubry and her colleague, Bernard Jenkin, a staunch Brexiteer, clashed on Twitter over what May had or had not promised regarding Grieve's compromise amendment.

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Speaking in parliament on Wednesday, May said the government could never allow the hands of the government to be tied in the negotiations or allow the Brexit decision to be reversed.

But Brexiters reacted with fury to the idea that MPs could be allowed to constrain the government's ability to leave the European Union without a deal, if it believes that is the right course.

But, the pro-EU MPs' version of what they were promised appears to differ from what they government says it offered, threatening to reignite the dispute and reviving the possibility of a revolt that would badly damage May's authority.

"The only answer to no hard border in Northern Ireland in the end is a customs union and high levels of market alignment, the fact that was accepted by the Government and turned into domestic law gives it a status it didn't have until yesterday".

The battle now moves to the House of Lords, where the government will formally reveal how much it has conceded in the wording of a new amendment expected on Monday or Tuesday. In the event that there was no Brexit agreement by November, it would require the Government to present a new plan and renew its negotiation mandate in Parliament. Brexiteers fear it is a Trojan horse to frustrate Brexit and bind the prime minister's hands.

One government official said: "It's not over yet".

"It's the Labour Party in Opposition which is trying to frustrate Brexit. We will wait and see the details of this concession and will hold ministers to account to ensure it lives up to the promises they have made to parliament".

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