Humber leave voters might not like the latest Brexit twist
By Grimsby Telegraph | Posted: 13 Jun 2018
Theresa May’s Government has survived a major scare in the crunch series of Brexit votes thanks to a last ditch deal with Tory rebels.
There were major fears going into Tuesday’s debate on the Lords’ amendments to the EU Withdrawal Bill that Mrs May was facing defeat on one of the key votes – the decision regarding Parliament’s meaningful vote.
But after last minute concessions, the Prime Minister was able to face down rebels and avoid an embarrassing defeat with the amendment rejected by 324 votes to 294.
What was this ‘meaningful vote’ all about?
MPs wanted to have more control over Brexit through a so-called meaningful vote (Image: Getty)
Some Eurosceptic had dubbed the meaningful vote amendment the “stop Brexit” clause as it could derail the negotiations with Brussels altogether.
If approved, it would mean Parliament – and not ministers – would take charge of the exit process in the event that MPs vote down the final deal with the EU in the autumn.
Such a result could have seen MPs demand the PM go back to the negotiating table or even scrap the plan to leave the EU altogether.
A group of Tory MPs – led by former attorney general Dominic Grieve and ex-business minister Anna Soubry – were prepared to back the amendment in order to ensure Parliament, when it comes to vote on the agreed EU deal, would not simply be voting on a “deal or no deal” situation at the end of the Brexit process.
How did Theresa May get the rebels to support her?
Prime Minister Theresa May was facing a backbench rebellion
The Commons was a hive of activity throughout the afternoon as Tory whips looked to persuade the rebels to vote with the Government.
The signs were not looking good for Mrs May, especially when justice minister Dr Philip Lee resigned only hours before the vote so he could join the rebellion and push for a meaningful vote.
But, as so often happens before a tight vote in the chamber, an 11th hour compromise was found.
Ministers told anxious backbenchers they would look to make changes to the bill so it better suited what they wanted.
The premise was: ‘Help us get through unscathed now and we’ll give you most of what you want next time’.
What was the compromise?
Theresa May is said to have made a major compromise to avoid a Government defeat
According to reports, the Government has agreed that the Commons will be able to direct the Brexit negotiations if there is no deal in place by November 30.
A veto will then be handed to MPs on how it proceeds from then onwards, with all of this being laid back in a new Lords amendment next week.
The move, if accurate, would be a big reversal from Mrs May in a bid to keep her side together but the heavy compromise worked.
In the moments before the vote, would-be rebels announced – as is the reality of modern day politics – on Twitter that they had been won over and would back the Government.
Will there be any fall out after this?
Jacob Rees-Mogg MP is chair of the European Research Group, made up of hard Brexit-supporting Tories
Quite possibly. If reports of the November 30 date are true, then some Brexiteers will argue it leaves the British negotiators as lame ducks.
The EU knows if it holds out until November 30 on a deal then Parliament will have the power to take over the negotiations and could stop the Article 50 process and look to thwart Brexit entirely.
MPs might not go quite that far – but a soft Brexit, involving staying in the single market, is starting to look increasingly like the final destination for the UK.
Having calmed the fires on one side of the party, Mrs May might well find she has stoked a fresh eruption in the Eurosceptic wing.
But, in the meantime, the Government will simply be relieved to have saved its own skin – for a short while at least.
Did any North Lincolnshire MPs rebel on the meaningful vote amendment?
Cleethorpes MP Martin Vickers campaigned to leave the EU, alongside with ex-Grimsby MP Austin Mitchell, now-Brexit Secretary David Davis and Brigg MP Andrew Percy, during the 2016 referendum
No – all MPs voted as expected.
Melanie Onn, Labour MP for Grimsby and shadow housing minister voted to accept the amendment.
The four Tories in the region voted to reject it:
Martin Vickers, MP for Cleethorpes
Victoria Atkins, MP for Louth and Home Office minister
Sir Edward Leigh, MP for Gainsborough
Andrew Percy, MP for Brigg and Goole