May wins crucial Brexit bill vote in nail-biting finale

Pauline Gross
June 23, 2018

May said the votes in both Houses of Parliament show people in Britain, and to the European Union, that the elected representatives are getting on with the job, and delivering on the will of the British people.

Now that this has been passed, it paves the way for the Brexit Bill to get royal assent, which is expected within days.

"The very reason I've prompted this amendment is to provide a mechanism to make sure that we don't come to government collapse immediately".

The meaningful vote would allow parliament to take charge of the negotiating strategy if they vote against the Government's Brexit deal in autumn.

Despite agreement on Britain's financial settlement and European Union citizens' rights, the Brexit talks are progressing slowly, and there are few hopes of a breakthrough at an European Union summit later this month.

He said he received an "obvious acknowledgement" of the sovereignty of Parliament and was "prepared to accept the government's difficulty and support it".

But the party labelled the compromise on a so-called "meaningful vote" meaningless, arguing it could not bind ministers' hands because negotiations would be over by the time MPs were voting.

MPs will vote on amendments to the EU (Withdrawal) Bill setting out how much power lawmakers will have if the government fails to agree a departure deal before Brexit in March 2019.

But Number 10 said ministers were confident of formulating a motion which John Bercow will rule is unamendable.

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Bradford West's Naz Shah, who has been ill, was pushed in to vote in a wheelchair with a sick bucket on her lap, in scenes which fellow Labour MP Catherine McKinnell said showed an "utter lack of humanity and compassion" from the Government.

Meanwhile pregnant Liberal Democrat deputy leader Jo Swinson and Labour MP Laura Pidcock turned out to oppose the PM's plans despite being close to their due dates.

As a crucial Brexit battle comes to a head in the British parliament on Wednesday, MPs are weighing not just their own views but also their personal safety amid increasingly toxic public debate.

Mrs May's official spokesman told reporters: "We will ensure that under standing orders the motion we bring forward is neutral".

"They have confirmed this could be an amendable motion, with no further constraints on Parliament, giving Parliament a real say on the our country's future".

The amendment now returns to MPs in the elected lower House of Commons, where Conservative rebels will ally with opposition parties in a bid to finally make it law.

He said he was looking forward to the United Kingdom government's Brexit White Paper, which he hoped would give more details about how to resolve sticking points such as the Irish border and ECJ membership.

The BBC's Laura Kuenssberg says the government should be anxious by how tight the vote was, even after the compromise was struck with Grieve, which could be a sign of "big problems ahead".

Meanwhile, arch Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg said the day's events were a "happy occasion when all may claim an element of success".

Other reports by GizPress

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