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Government forced to climbdown to avoid Brexit vote defeat

Government forced to climbdown to avoid Brexit vote defeat

Ministers had mounted an unprecedented public negotiation with Tory rebels in the House of Commons a bid to avoid defeat over the terms of a vote by MPs on the final Brexit deal.

Fellow MP Antoinette Sandbach rejected suggestions by leading Brexiteers in her party that this would tie the prime minister's hands in negotiations.

Prior to the votes, the government suffered its first ministerial resignation over Brexit as Phillip Lee quit the Ministry of Justice so he could speak out freely.

Lee said "the people, economy and culture of my constituency will be affected negatively" by Britain's European Union departure, and it is "irresponsible to proceed as we are".

A member of Theresa May's government resigned Tuesday ahead of a key Parliamentary debate on legislation regarding Britain's departure from the European Union.

Tory MPs are to discuss with ministers what will happen in the event of a no-deal Brexit - amid calls for Theresa May to honour "assurances" to them.

As the clock ticked down to the vote, two rebels stood up to say they were satisfied with what the government had offered them.

Earlier this year, Lee had called on the government to release its economic impact assessments of Brexit and suggested the government change tack in talks with the European Union, underlining the deep rifts in his party over the best way to manage Britain's exit. Philip Lee said a choice between "bad and worse" options was not giving MPs a meaningful vote.




The concession on a meaningful vote came after intensive horse-trading on the floor of the House of Commons, with chief whip Julian Smith shuttling between Tory backbenchers during debate on Lords amendments to the EU Withdrawal Bill. "A vote between bad and worse is not a meaningful vote".

But in a last-ditch concession by the Government to swerve a revolt, the PM is indicating that it will put forward two of the three parts of Mr Grieve's amendment when the bill returns to the House of Lords.

As with last week's set-to with Davis over the Northern Irish backstop, both sides of the Brexit culture war in the Tory party were nearly immediately in dispute about what the climbdown meant - and who had won.

The government was putting a combative spin on the concessions Tuesday evening: "The Brexit Secretary has set out three tests that any new amendment has to meet - not undermining the negotiations, not changing the constitutional role of Parliament and Government in negotiating global treaties, and respecting the referendum result", a spokesperson for the Brexit department said in a statement.

Ukip leader Gerard Batten said: "The only "meaningful vote" was the verdict of the people in referendum of 23rd June 2016".

Matthew Pennycook, one of the opposition Labour Party's Brexit policy team, urged lawmakers to vote to hand parliament more powers.

But once Britain leaves the E.U.it must find a way to regulate or otherwise account for goods crossing its border into Northern Ireland while keeping it open.