EU Withdrawal Bill debate: Day 1

In Brexit showdown British PM May faces challenge over ‘meaningful vote

Ministers saw off a move to give MPs the decisive say on what happens over Brexit if they do not agree with the deal negotiated by the United Kingdom government.

Opening debate on the flagship EU Withdrawal Bill in the House of Commons, Mr Davis warned that the "cumulative effect" of a series of Lords amendments would "make it impossible to deliver the smooth and orderly exit we want". May's Cabinet is divided between ministers including Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, who support a clean break with the European Union, and those such as Treasury chief Philip Hammond who want to keep closely aligned to the bloc, Britain's biggest trading partner.

What do the newspapers say about the votes?

Talks with rebels will take place over coming days to negotiate a new form of words defining what say parliament will have over the process and will reveal how much ground May has given to the pro-Europeans. The House of Lords has inserted 15 amendments to soften the terms of Britain's departure. The Secretary for Leaving the European Union, David Davies, opposed the publication of the study, first on the grounds that this would undermine London's negotiating position in Brussels and then on the grounds that the "impact assessment" was not in fact "an impact assessment" but mainly a projection.

"The government can not demonstrate the flexibility necessary for a successful deal if its hands are tied midway through that process", he said. Several pro-EU Conservative lawmakers said they would join the opposition in voting against the government.

However, May is anxious about the prospect of a rebellion by pro-EU Conservative MPs who are determined to retain as numerous changes as possible.

The fall-out from Tuesday's vote, which the government won to wipe out a change that could have given parliament the power to force ministers back to the negotiating table, looked set to all but overshadow Wednesday's votes. But for now, the government seems to have prevented an embarrassing defeat, and the Tory rebels have avoided the unpleasantness of colluding in the defeat of their Prime Minister. These kinds of promises by the government are fundamental to the way in which parliament and the government work together to craft legislation that the majority of MPs can live with.

But pro-EU Conservative lawmaker Dominic Grieve said that with the government's move "I am quite satisfied that we are going to get a meaningful vote on both "deal" and "no deal" scenarios.

"Meanwhile, the economy is weakening and industry is increasingly alarmed at the sheer ineptitude of her Government".

Last year Lee pressed the government to release an economic impact assessment of a hard Brexit put together by the civil service.

Potential rebels fell into line after Mr Buckland said ministers were ready to "engage positively" with their concerns before the Bill returns to the Upper House next Monday.

Earlier, a junior minister resigned to fight for a "meaningful vote" for MPs, saying the government was offering a "fake choice" between "a bad deal and no deal".

A statement by the Department for Exiting the European Union, led by Brexit Secretary David Davis, insisted that "we have not, and will not, agree to the House of Commons binding the Government's hands in the negotiations".

The results were a victory for Prime Minister Theresa May's Conservative government, which is determined to take the country out of the European Union next year.

Not at all. Among the many issues outstanding ahead of Britain's planned withdrawal date of March 29, 2019 is the question of what happens to the Northern Irish border. This article is strictly for informational purposes only.

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