U.K.'s Theresa May Is Cornered by Brexit Enemies

Glen Norman
June 18, 2018

A leading Conservative has rejected a proposed compromise to Brexit legislation put forward by Theresa May in an attempt to avoid a rebellion by some of her own MPs.

A dozen or so Tory MPs, led by former attorney general Dominic Grieve, want a bigger role for Parliament, should a final Brexit deal be rejected by MPs or if no deal is reached - the so-called "meaningful vote".

The disagreement centers on whether the government agreed to consider a specific clause of the rebel proposal that would hand parliament control of the Brexit process if ministers are unable to strike an exit deal by February 15, 2019.

Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit plans face rejection by Parliament's upper chamber on Monday, setting the stage for a high-stakes confrontation with rebel lawmakers later in the week which could rock her minority government. The Government's current proposal would neuter Parliament if the Government failed to reach a Brexit deal. "I hope they listen to me when I say I don't understand why you've done this last-minute switch", he added.

The rebels MPs say that a compromise amendment, published by the Government this afternoon, doesn't give MPs enough of a say. The spokeswoman said the government had listened to MPs who had called for the "ability to express their views, in the unlikely event that our preferred scenario did not come to pass".

On one side, the United Kingdom prime minister has the European Union, sharpening its knives to defend the club of 27 remaining members against British "cherry picking" during Brexit talks.

After winning Tuesday's ballot over changes to a future "meaningful vote" on a final agreement with Brussels in her European Union withdrawal bill, May's plans to end more than 40 years of membership in the bloc were still on track.

Asked if the rebels could collapse the Government by voting against it, he told BBC1's Sunday Politics: "We could collapse the Government".

Mr Grieve said he had been involved in talks for two days and: "at the end of the process something was inexplicably changed, which had not been agreed".

"It is time that we moved on and recognised that people voted to leave to take back important controls, particularly over our laws, our money and our trade".

However, May's decision to refuse to offer MPs a veto means the future of her Brexit legislation and her authority as prime minister are now once again back in doubt.

He added: "But this remains hypothetical and the government is confident we will agree a good deal with the European Union which Parliament will support".

"As a result, a leadership challenge to Theresa May has also become more likely, because hardline Brexiteers fear they are being outmaneuvered by the prime minister who tiptoes towards a package acceptable to the soft Brexit majority in Parliament". Ministers are digging in and refusing to give ground for now.

The opposition Liberal Democrats confirmed they would support an amendment in the Lords this week to ensure parliament is given a "meaningful vote".

In the House of Commons on Thursday morning, Labor's Brexit spokesman Sir Keir Starmer pressed Brexit Secretary David Davis on seemingly conflicting accounts of what the would-be rebels were offered.

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