Government avoids defeat on Brexit bill

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”

Further clashes were expected on Wednesday during debate on amendments relating to how closely Britain stays aligned with the EU's economy after leaving. One pro-Brexit minister insisted the rebels had lost, and warned that if they continued to fight May they would only make a "no deal" divorce more likely. One says: "If we do not get what we were promised the Government will be defeated after we have amended the Bill in the Lords". However, as things stand now, they will not be able to send the government back into negotiations if they reject an agreement with the EU.

In an earlier vote, MPs voted by 328 votes to 297 to disagree with another Lords amendment which was linked to changes to the day Britain leaves the EU.

On the return of the EU Withdrawal Bill for consideration by MPs on Tuesday, the government won all the day's votes as it overturned a series of House of Lords amendments to the key Brexit legislation.

Crucially, ministers have conceded that if MPs vote down the Withdrawal Agreement with Brussels, that will not result in the United Kingdom crashing out of the European Union with no deal - a scenario that few MPs would countenance because of the significant economic damage it would entail.

MPs will hold further votes on the EU Withdrawal Bill on Wednesday, including a House of Lords demand for the United Kingdom to remain in the EU's single market.

Passions ran high in Tuesday's three-hour debate, when angry eurosceptics accused their rivals of trying to undermine the 2016 referendum vote to leave the EU.

"I expect the government to honour its commitments and I expect the PM to honour her commitments and I have no reason to distrust the approach she took with us", Mr Grieve told the BBC's Newsnight. She now relies on the support of a small Northern Irish party. "So we are partway through discussions and there is more to come", she said. "There could be a confidence motion [in the prime minister] or an early general election".

Solicitor General Robert Buckland said the government would remain open-minded, but the meeting may not result in new proposals in the coming days.

It followed a strained parliamentary session, where the deep nationwide divisions opened up by Britain's vote to leave the European Union in 2016 were on display, with pro-EU lawmakers saying they had received death threats.

He said a concession of this kind would been "revolutionary" as the Commons can not override the government when it came to negotiating worldwide treaties.

A third development, which would allow MPs to direct the government on future talks if there is no resolution on the withdrawal agreement by 15 February, is also on the cards.

A junior British justice minister said on Tuesday he will resign and will vote with pro-European Union rebels who want parliament to have the power to force the government to go back to the negotiating table if they reject a Brexit deal.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4 Today Programme, Mr Bridgen accused Tory Remainers supportive of Dominic Grieve's amendment to the Brexit bill of deliberatively attempting to stop the United Kingdom leaving the European Union completely.

Labour's Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer said that the only reason May's government had decided on a climb down was because 'they thought they were going to lose the vote'.

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