Thursday, 16 August, 2018

United Kingdom minister resigns, plans to rebel over parliament's Brexit role

The Foreign Minister said it was too early to say if the Trump Kim meeting could be deemed a success “but at least it’s a serious start” Source 1 NEWS
Kenny Thornton | 13 June, 2018, 19:00

Rebel leader Dominic Grieve tabled a last-minute compromise amendment last night, which scaled back the demands of the House of Lords position but which would give MPs the power to block a no-deal Brexit.

The pound rose on Tuesday after British Prime Minister Theresa May saw off a rebellion in parliament over amendments to a bill for the country's exit from the European Union next year that had threatened to undermine her authority.

As I write the full terms of the deal have yet to be revealed, but there is briefing ministers have conceded that a motion, which could be amended, would be put before MPs, in event a final divorce deal is voted down.

Further votes on EU Withdrawal Bill amendments will take place on Wednesday, with no defeats expected for the government after ministers agreed a compromise wording over post-Brexit plans for a "customs arrangement".

But after the prime minister personally assured a group of around 15 rebels that Mr Grieve's amendment would be partially adopted into the Bill before it went back to the Lords the rebels backed down.

In London, Parliament is considering crucial pieces of law that need to be passed in order for the U.K.to leave the bloc without causing legal chaos.

"We are asking members of parliament to abide by the referendum result, our manifesto commitment and to back our country", Andrew Bridgen, Conservative lawmaker and Brexit campaigner, told Reuters.

The Lords amendment would have given parliament the power to decide what happened next, with the possibility of reopening negotiations or staying in the bloc.

"It's not practical, it's not desirable and it's not appropriate", Davis said.

Pro-EU lawmakers, however, welcomed it as a signal that the government was moving towards ruling out a hardline "no deal" Brexit.

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Earlier May suffered a setback when junior justice minister Phillip Lee, who has always been critical of Brexit strategy, resigned and said he would vote against the government.

A file photograph of justice minister Phillip Lees.

The reality is that a no-deal Brexit was already looking incredibly unlikely.

As time ticks by, May can no longer kick decisions down the road, increasingly under pressure from European Union negotiators to come up with detailed positions not only on customs, but also on future trade relations and governance. "I can not support the government's decision to oppose this amendment because doing so breaches such fundamental principles of human rights and parliamentary sovereignty", he said.

The Brexit Department said in a statement that it would look for compromise, but would not agree to lawmakers "binding the government's hands" in negotiations.

The logic of that argument is that EU negotiator Michel Barnier would prefer the softest of Brexits - a model known as "Norway plus", in which Britain remains in the European Economic Area (EEA) and the customs union, accepting all single market rules, including freedom of movement, and the EU's trade policy without any representation in Brussels.

Brexit protesters outside Parliament House. A paper laying out the U.K. government position, due to be published this month, has been delayed because the Cabinet can not agree on a united stance.

These were the words of a minister expecting to win the vote.

Britain's highest-selling tabloid, The Sun, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch, addressed lawmakers directly on its front page, saying they faced a choice between "Great Britain or Great Betrayal". The Daily Express thundered: "Ignore the will of the people at your peril".

"I trust our PM to honor the undertaking she gave", said Anna Soubry, one of the pro-EU Tory rebels.

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