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United Kingdom justice minister resigns over Brexit ahead of key votes

13 June, 2018, 01:16 | Author: Kristen Ingram
  • Former Home Secretary Amber Rudd has issued a joint statement with Brexiteer Iain Duncan Smith

A Commons defeat on the issue would have been a significant blow to May's authority and risked triggering a leadership crisis for the prime minister.

Labour's Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer believes that a Norway-style deal with the EU would not prevent a hard border in Northern Ireland and that becoming a member of the European Economic Area (EEA) - effectively keeping Britain in the EU single market - would be "totally incompatible" with the need to avoid a hard border with the Republic of Ireland, the Independent wrote.

But in a last-ditch concession by the Government to swerve a revolt, the PM is indicating that it will put forward two of the three parts of Mr Grieve's amendment when the bill returns to the House of Lords.

Despite depending on the votes of the 10 DUP MPs for her precarious Commons majority, there were signs of cautious optimism among ministers that they would get the numbers to see off the revolt.

Tory rebels claimed that the government had agreed to specific proposals from leading backbench remainer Grieve to address concerns over what would happen if parliament rejected the final Brexit deal, or talks with the European Union were to break down.

Grieve had suggested in clause C of his alternative proposal that if there was still no deal by 15 February next year, the government would have had to hand over the reins to the House of Commons to set its Brexit strategy.

The result followed a day of high drama as a justice minister in May's government resigned in order to back the amendment.

Theresa May last night brokered a fragile unity among MPs, pressing the case that Brussels will be watching and urging them not to undermine negotiations.

Dr Lee's shock departure came as Brexit Secretary David Davis warned potential Tory rebels that they can not undo the European Union referendum, ahead of a tricky 48 hours in which the Government will try to get its Brexit programme back on track. In between discussions, he spoke to ministers on the front benches, including May, scribbling notes on a Commons paper.

For some time the government Chief Whip Julian Smith had been flitting round the Chamber talking to his troops - then he went and had a word with the Solicitor General, Robert Buckland, the government's in-house legal eagle, who is dealing with the tekky legal aspects of the EU (Withdrawal) Bill.

"A vote between bad and worse is not a meaningful vote".

"It would be the end of the Conservative party if they succeed", he said.

The E.U. (Withdrawal) Bill is the draft law that would set the legal framework for Brexit and Ms. However, it is understood that she had concerns over the Lords amendment on the table.

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