Brexit ‘meaningful vote’ rejected as PM strikes deal with Tory rebels

12th June, 2018 6:17 pm

Today the government avoided an embarrassing defeat on a key Brexit vote by offering concessions to Remainer Tory MPs.

After the resignation of justice minister Phillip Lee, who said he could not support the government’s position on Brexit, it was said government whips feared a Tory rebellion on the ‘meaningful vote’ amendment passed by the House of Lords.

As the vote approached, Tory MPs intending to defy the party whip in order to vote with Labour on the amendment left the chamber.

That is when Theresa May reportedly gave 15-20 Conservative ‘rebels’ assurances that the government would accept the general meaning of Dominic Grieve’s alternative amendment.

The motion to reject the Lords amendment, which would have given MPs control over the government’s negotiation strategy and the final exit deal, therefore passed by 324 votes to 298 – a majority of 26 votes.

Due to the concessions offered, the details of which have not yet been fully revealed, two Conservative MPs – Ken Clarke and Anna Soubry – rebelled. Phillip Lee abstained.

It is thought that both the government and the Remainer group of Tory MPs consider the outcome to be a success.

Five Labour MPs – Ronnie Campbell, Frank Field, Kate Hoey, John Mann and Graham Stringer – voted with the government.

Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer commented: “This vote was about ensuring parliament was given a proper role in the Brexit negotiations and that we avoid a no deal situation, which is becoming more likely with the divisions at the heart of this government.

“However, facing the prospect of a humiliating defeat Theresa May has been forced to enter negotiations with her backbenchers and offer a so-called concession.

“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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