PM appeals to rebels ahead of two-day Brexit debate

Pauline Gross
June 12, 2018

Lee's resignation Tuesday comes ahead of a crucial 48 hours for the government as it battles to hold off a series of potential rebellions to remove 15 amendments laid by peers in the House of Lords created to strengthen parliament's hand in the negotiations.

Until just a few days ago, it looked like members of Parliament would overturn key parts of May's Brexit plans - and in turn wield the power to bring down her government.

Among the 14 amendments to the Bill - set to be voted on by MPs on Tuesday and Wednesday - are changes which would see the United Kingdom stay in the Single Market and would allow Parliament to dictate future negotiating terms.

However, anti-Brexit Tory MP Dr. Phillip Lee was unconvinced, resigning from his government job as a Justice Minister and publicly attacking the Prime Minister at the 1922 meeting.

Theresa May told the potential rebels she would work to secure a "customs arrangement" with the European Union (EU), rather than remaining in "a customs union" as the House of Lords voted for in their amendment to be considered the House of Commons Tuesday.

Depriving parliament of a vote on the withdrawal deal 'would be something we would rightly criticised if it happened elsewhere, ' Lee said.

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Lee, who was Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Ministry of Justice, has quit the front bench so he can vote against the government on the "meaningful vote" amendment.

The current "meaningful vote" offered by the Government allows MPs to accept or reject the Brexit deal, but the proposed change would see MPs take control of the negotiation aims.

He wrote: "If, in the future, I am to look my children in the eye and honestly say that I did my best for them I can not, in all good conscience, support how our country's exit from the European Union looks set to be delivered".

To try to ensure the government wins, ministers and other lawmakers have been told to make sure they will be in parliament for the votes.

He also warned that Britain "would not be ready in time" for Brexit and called for a referendum on the terms of the final deal.

Earlier this year, Lee was disciplined by Conservative MPs for describing the government's Brexit policy of being based on "dogma" in a thread of Tweets.

Other reports by GizPress

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