‘May will fall if the UK par­lia­ment re­jects Brexit deal’

Irish Independent - - News - Jack Maid­ment

THERESA MAY’S gov­ern­ment will fall if par­lia­ment re­jects her Brexit deal, a se­nior Tory MP has pre­dicted.

Tom Tu­gend­hat, Con­ser­va­tive chair­man of the UK par­lia­men­tary for­eign af­fairs se­lect com­mit­tee, said there would be a “new gov­ern­ment” if Mrs May lost the so-called “mean­ing­ful vote” on the terms of with­drawal, due to take place in Oc­to­ber.

Mr Tu­gend­hat’s warn­ing came as the prime min­is­ter con­tin­ued to wres­tle with a de­mand from Tory Re­mainer rebels to hand par­lia­ment the abil­ity to di­rect ne­go­ti­a­tions if it re­jects the fi­nal deal. Tory Brex­i­teers are fiercely re­sis­tant to the idea be­cause they be­lieve it could ef­fec­tively be used as a Brexit veto to keep the UK in the EU.

Mr Tu­gend­hat sug­gested there was no need to “beef up” the “mean­ing­ful vote” which cur­rently of­fers par­lia­ment the choice be­tween the gov­ern­ment’s deal and Bri­tain leav­ing the EU with no deal.

“I think we are go­ing to get a mean­ing­ful vote any­way.

“The mean­ing­ful vote is go­ing to be ei­ther the gov­ern­ment’s deal is ac­cepted in which case that is the mean­ing­ful vote to ac­cept it or it isn’t ac­cepted, in which case frankly there is go­ing to be a new gov­ern­ment,” he told ‘Sky News’.

Mrs May (below) man­aged to avoid a dam­ag­ing de­feat on the is­sue as MPs de­bated amend­ments to the Eu­ro­pean Union (With­drawal) Bill.

She con­vinced Tory Re­main­ers not to go ahead with a bid to bol­ster the “mean­ing­ful vote” on Tuesday by telling them she would find a com­pro­mise way for­ward.

But with Re­main­ers adamant the PM had com­mit­ted to giv­ing par­lia­ment more power and Brex­i­teers equally con­vinced she had done no such thing, ob­servers be­lieve Mrs May is stuck be­tween a rock and a hard place.

David Davis, the Brexit sec­re­tary, said he could not ac­cept any amend­ments to the Brexit bill that would “al­low par­lia­ment to in­struct gov­ern­ment on what steps it should take” in the ne­go­ti­a­tions.

He told MPs: “Such a move would be con­sti­tu­tion­ally un­prece­dented, the cur­rent con­sti­tu­tional ar­range­ments have served this coun­try well for hun­dreds of years over thou­sands of treaties.”

Two days of de­bate on the EU (With­drawal) Bill fur­ther ex­posed the Brexit fault line at the heart of the Tory Party.

Mrs May won ev­ery vote but the “mean­ing­ful vote” is­sue has put her in a seem­ingly pre­car­i­ous po­si­tion.

Pro-EU Tories have warned they re­main ready to rebel if their de­mands are not sat­is­fied by the com­pro­mise amend­ment while lead­ing Brex­i­teer Ja­cob Rees-Mogg claimed their idea made a “no-deal Brexit” more likely.

Mean­while, six mem­bers of Labour leader Jeremy Cor­byn’s shadow team quit over the is­sue and more than a third of Labour MPs voted against the whip to back mem­ber­ship of the Eu­ro­pean Eco­nomic Area (EEA).

A to­tal of 89 of the party’s 257 MPs ig­nored front bench or­ders to ab­stain from vot­ing ei­ther for or against the EEA amend­ment.

Labour split three ways on the vote, with 74 vot­ing in favour of the Lords amend­ment, 15 vot­ing against it, and the ma­jor­ity ab­stain­ing. (© Daily Tele­graph, Lon­don)

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