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Government wins Brexit bill vote after concessions
13 June 2018, 04:42 | Glen Norman
Source 1 NEWS
Phillip Lee accused the government of trying to limit parliament's role in shaping Britain's departure from the European Union and said the government's Brexit strategy was detrimental to the British people.
Seeking to placate would-be Conservative rebels, government frontbenchers offered to meet them to discuss their concerns, and agreed to "engage positively" on a "compromise" put forward by one of them, former attorney general Dominic Grieve. "We will now work with the government to get acceptable amendments tabled in the Lords to address this".
The debate, which lasted for almost three hours, was split down the usual non-partisan lines that have emerged as a result of Brexit, with the likes of Labour's Kate Hoey and John Mann saying they would back the Conservative government, while Tories including Ken Clarke and Anna Soubry spoke in favour of Grieve.
The UK will leave the European Union on 29 March next year.
The government averted a rebellion on Tuesday over whether Parliament should have a decisive say in such a scenario.
The SNP doesn't have any Lords because of an ideological disagreement with the concept of an unelected upper house - but it does have plenty of MPs in the Commons.
The House of Commons voted 324 to 298 to defeat an amendment to the EU (Withdrawal) Bill which would have removed her government's power to unilaterally walk away from talks with Brussels.
Earlier in the day during the debate on the "meaningful vote" clause of the EU Withdrawal Bill, Tory rebels were threatening to impose a government defeat until May's intervention.
Davis said this was a "no Brexit amendment" that amounted to "an unconstitutional shift that risks undermining our negotiations with the European Union".
Just three hours later, ministers caved in.
Fellow MP Antoinette Sandbach rejected suggestions by leading Brexiteers in her party that this would tie the prime minister's hands in negotiations.
Those developments are likely to lower expectations of a Bank of England interest rate rise in August, given the central bank has said it wants to see more wage pressures before it increases borrowing costs.
"I absolutely trust what the Prime Minister says to us", he told BBC Radio 4's PM programme.
If May is defeated by a wide margin her position as Prime Minister could be threatened.
Meanwhile, Tory Brexiteer Bernard Jenkin told the government he would not accept ministers agreeing to Mr Grieve's demand for the House of Commons to assume control of Brexit negotiations in the event of no deal.
Solicitor General Robert Buckland said the government would remain open-minded, but the meeting may not result in new proposals in the coming days.
May urged Conservative lawmakers to back the government and show "that we are united as a party in our determination to deliver on the decision made by the British people".
Conservative lawmaker Phillip Lee resigned as a justice minister Tuesday so he could speak out against the policy on Brexit.
They also voted to disagree with Lords amendment 37, which was part of an attempt to remove the exit day from the Bill and allow the Commons to rethink its approach.
A series of further votes will take place on Wednesday, with no defeats expected after ministers agreed compromise wording over post-Brexit plans for a "customs arrangement".
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