United Kingdom minister resigns, plans to rebel over parliament's Brexit role

Theresa May and Sarah Wollaston

The issue of a "meaningful vote" is set to be a flashpoint in the Commons, with ministers seeking to overturn a Lords amendment which would give Parliament extensive powers to direct ministers how to proceed if a deal with Brussels is rejected by MPs or no deal is reached.

Remain-supporting Tory MP Phillip Lee has resigned as a justice minister over the United Kingdom government's policy on Brexit.

Theresa May ultimately persuaded all but two of her MPs to back her in the decisive vote in Westminster on Tuesday - but she increasingly appears little more than a hostage to the warring factions in a bitterly divided Conservative party.

One of the key points of difference between the Prime Minister and the rebels is a Lords amendment which states the Government must seek to negotiate a customs union with the EU.

Lose that and Mrs May could lose control of the Brexit negotiation.

"We had a personal assurance that we would find a way of addressing the concerns which are encapsulated in these amendments", Mr Grieve said as voting continued on Tuesday.

If the government fails to pass the bill as it is, it will be forced to change what it asks for in negotiations with the European Union -undermining May's position and possibly threatening her job as Prime Minister.

The move represents a dramatic climbdown from Mrs May's original plan to offer MPs a "take it or leave it" vote to accept the withdrawal agreement or leave the European Union without a deal.

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The SNP doesn't have any Lords because of an ideological disagreement with the concept of an unelected upper house - but it does have plenty of MPs in the Commons.

The government won the vote after last-minute horse-trading, some of it in the open on the floor of the House of Commons - some behind closed doors.

In the months that followed, May struggled to assert her authority over her party and government, with a string of ministers resigning from the Cabinet and disunity over Brexit among those who remained around her top table.

"That was the decision of the British people. and whatever we do, we're not going to reverse that", he told the BBC.

Brexit Secretary David Davis urged MPs to "respect the result of the referendum" that approved the withdrawal. There were 14 of us in the room.

Following the vote, shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer said: "Facing the prospect of a humiliating defeat Theresa May has been forced to enter negotiations with her backbenchers and offer a so-called concession".

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.

"We will wait and see the details of this concession and will hold ministers to account to ensure it lives up to the promises they have made to parliament".

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