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Government compromise on 'meaningful vote' avoids Brexit defeat
13 June 2018, 06:59 | Devin Moran
Source 1 NEWS
Pro-Brexit members of the government want to be able to play the "no deal" card, but the House of Commons, where pro-EU voices are stronger, would nearly certainly reject the idea.
But just an hour before the vote, due at around 1500 GMT, the government sought to compromise with senior pro-EU Conservative lawmaker Dominic Grieve, who had put forward his own amendment, which increased the risk of a government defeat.
MPs voted 324 to 298 to reject the proposal, which had come to parliament after the Lords brought amendments to the EU (Withdrawal) Bill.
Clause C is aimed at allowing MPs to give "direction" to the government in the event of no Brexit deal having been reached by mid-February 2019, but Downing Street has signalled it is "not up for discussion". "We will now work with the government to get acceptable amendments tabled in the Lords to address this".
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.
Bill revokes the 1972 Act which took the United Kingdom into the European Economic Area, but also transposes all relevant EU law into British statute so there are no holes in the law book at the point of Brexit.
A section of Labour MPs are expected to defy the official party position and vote in favor of a Lords amendment to keep the United Kingdom in a Norway-style trading arrangement, better known as the European Economic Area (EEA), post-Brexit.
A statement from the Department for Exiting the European Union on Tuesday said David Davis had set three tests for any new amendment: not undermining the negotiations; not changing the constitutional role of parliament and government in negotiating global treaties; and respecting the referendum result.
Remainer Stephen Hammond said a group of potential rebels - believed to number 15-20 - received assurances from the PM moments before the key vote.
Buckland indicated the government would look into the possibility of adopting Grieve's push for ministers to secure parliamentary approval for their Brexit plans if they fail to negotiate a deal with the EU.
Dr. Sarah Wollaston, chair of the heath select committee, switched to back the Government after saying she was "minded" to rebel over voting against the Lord's amendment.
Conservative lawmaker Phillip Lee resigned as a justice minister Tuesday so he could speak out against the policy on Brexit.
"That was the decision of the British people. and whatever we do, we're not going to reverse that", he told the BBC.
Ms. May has said a government defeat would weaken its hand in exit talks with the European Union.
"First, we must never do anything that undermines the Government's negotiating position or encourages delays in the negotiations", Mr Davis said.
The British government was rocked by a resignation and faced anger in Parliament over its Brexit plans, but staved off defeat by offering concessions to MPs who want to soften the terms of the UK's exit from the European Union.
Liberal Democrat Brexit spokesman Tom Brake said: "As has become a tradition in Brexit negotiations, the Tories have been forced to cobble together a compromise".
Ukip leader Gerard Batten said: "The only "meaningful vote" was the verdict of the people in referendum of 23rd June 2016".
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