Government defeats rebel Tory move to keep Britain in EU customs union

Could This Be the Last Nail in Brexit’s Coffin?		    							
	
	
	
	
	
	
		       
								Author The Australian Tribune Editorial			
			17/07/2018

The amendment to the Trade Bill could have forced May to negotiate membership of a customs union with the EU after Brexit.

British prime minister Theresa May will face yet another rebellion on Tuesday (17 July) in parliament, this time from her pro-EU Conservative MPs who are upset that the premier caved into hardline Brexiteer demands on Monday, increasing the chances for a no-deal divorce from the EU.

Mrs May's convoluted Brexit plan, with the United Kingdom tied to all European Union rules on goods and agriculture, has been called "the worst of both worlds" and is opposed by MPs from across the political spectrum, and on Monday night the Labour Shadow Chancellor accused her of pushing for the early holiday to avoid resistance and accountability.

May's dismissal of the idea was prompted by a Conservative, Justine Greening, who wrote in the Times of London that the "only solution is to take the final Brexit decision out of the hands of deadlocked politicians" with a second vote, which would give citizens three options: sticking with May's vision of a "Soft Brexit", remain in the European Union after all, or leave the bloc with no deal. "Theresa May should finally accept that and get on with the job of negotiating for Britain".

Having faced down Remainers in her own party, Mrs May will now take the plan set out in last week's White Paper to Brussels in a bid to salvage a Brexit deal.

12 Remainer Tory MPs rebelled against the party whip: Heidi Allen, Guto Bebb, Ken Clarke, Jonathan Djanogly, Dominic Grieve, Stephen Hammond, Dr Philip Lee, Nicky Morgan, Robert Neill, Antoinette Sandbach, Anna Soubry, Dr Sarah Wollaston.

Since the Chequers agreement, May had lost ten government members, including from the cabinet Brexit secretary David Davis and foreign minister Boris Johnson.

The tension over Brexit spiked again Tuesday, when Britain's election watchdog, the Electoral Commission, ruled that the official pro-Brexit campaign group Vote Leave had broken the law on political spending during the 2016 referendum campaign over membership in the bloc.

One EU official said the extension could be given if member states see United Kingdom negotiators committed to hammering out a deal day and night.

During his visit Mr Jones will give a speech in which he is expected to reflect on Theresa May's White Paper and discuss how both sides can work together to secure a Brexit deal before the United Kingdom leaves the European Union in March 2019.

May's spokesman said the leader would stand by her promise to leave such a customs union.

The prime minister's office defended the government's decision, saying that it was still consistent with the previous government policy.

The move has led to accusations that Prime Minister Theresa May is hoping to abate Tory infighting over Brexit by sending everyone home early.

"However, I believe it is a basis on which more serious negotiations can now start".

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