Brexit law faces tricky United Kingdom parliament votes

Theresa May is facing one of the toughest weeks of her premiership

Theresa May's landmark Brexit legislation returns to the House of Commons on Tuesday, with the 15 amendments added to it by the upper House of Lords mostly created to keep closer ties to the European Union and give Parliament more power over the divorce process.

(EurActiv) - Theresa May avoided a humiliating parliamentary defeat to her government's European Union withdrawal bill, but only after appearing to promise rebel MPs an effective block on a "no deal" Brexit.

Dominic Grieve, the former Attorney General, took up the Lords' meaningful vote clause and ran with it in the Commons.

May objected to the amendment - inserted by the House of Lords - because she said it would tie her hands in the negotiation. "We must think about the message parliament will send to the European Union this week", May told MPs in her centre-right Conservative Party late Monday.

But it was a vote in parliament on Tuesday that left her seemingly at the mercy of two groups in the Conservative Party - those who want to maintain the closest possible ties with the European Union, and others pressing for a clean break. As ever, Delano will keep you posted.

Laura Smith, MP for Crewe and Nantwich, was among 15 Labour MPs who voted with Theresa May to reject the EEA amendment. The government has also put down some amendments aimed at uniting the party around a compromise. Theresa May has said no British government would ever agree to a hard border there. "If the PM goes back on that there will be no agreed amendment that I can support".

The pro-EU faction got a boost when junior justice minister Phillip Lee resigned Tuesday, saying he could no longer support the government's "irresponsible" plans for Brexit.

POLITICS Brexit
Brexit law faces tricky United Kingdom parliament votes

Dr Lee said his main objection to Government policy was over the "wish to limit Parliament's role in contributing to the final outcome" and signalled he would rebel on the issue in the Commons later.

He said the United Kingdom should "re-engage with our European and global friends to talk about how to achieve the aims that we share for the future in ways that respect individual countries' interests and sovereignty", taking into account concerns expressed in other EU countries since the Brexit vote about the bloc's direction.

The "meaningful vote" will be the first major test after the House of Lords introduced changes to the bill, trying to reshape the government's approach to Brexit by encouraging lawmakers to press for the closest possible ties.

Labour's divisions were laid bare when Jeremy Corbyn was hit by six frontbench resignations and 89 MPs defied him in a key Brexit vote.

Labour split three ways as the Commons debated a Lords amendment to the EU (Withdrawal) Bill calling for EEA membership to remain on the negotiating table.

He confirmed that ministers will seek to overturn 14 amendments which he said would undermine the goal of the Bill and fail to respect the result of the 2016 referendum. 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.

In other words, in the event of a divorce deal that the Commons refused to accept, MPs would be able to set a new course for Brexit. After a bumpy week of Brexit spats within her administration and with the EU, May wants to fend off another setback in a long-awaited showdown with restive lawmakers. The government fears a weakened negotiating position.

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