May sur­vives fresh Brexit vote but rebels up the pres­sure

The Nation - - WORLD -

BRI­TISH PRIME Min­is­ter Theresa May has sur­vived an­other key Brexit vote but her proEuro­pean MPs warned they could yet rebel if she back­tracks on prom­ises to give par­lia­ment a greater say in the fi­nal with­drawal deal.

The House of Com­mons over­turned an amend­ment to the EU (With­drawal) Bill, tabled by the un­elected House of Lords, seek­ing to keep Bri­tain aligned to the bloc’s cus­toms union.

It was a sec­ond win for May af­ter she per­suaded rebels in her Con­ser­va­tive party on Tuesday to re­ject a Lords amend­ment that would have al­lowed par­lia­ment to block the gov­ern­ment from leav­ing the EU with no deal.

But that vote re­quired last­minute con­ces­sions to proEuro­pean Tories, and they warned on Wednesday they could yet seek to de­feat the gov­ern­ment if May fails to ful­fil her prom­ises.

‘Con­tempt’

Lead­ing rebel Do­minic Grieve said he hoped a com­pro­mise would be found, but if not, “this isn’t the end of the mat­ter”.

Down­ing Street said it would pub­lish a com­pro­mise amend­ment yes­ter­day, which would go to the Lords for de­bate on Monday, and then back to MPs later next week.

Else­where in a day of drama, the main op­po­si­tion Labour party suf­fered a large re­bel­lion by its MPs seek­ing to keep Bri­tain in the EU’s sin­gle mar­ket.

Scot­tish Na­tional Party (SNP) MPs had ear­lier walked out of the Com­mons in protest at what they said was the gov­ern­ment’s “con­tempt” for Scot­land in the with­drawal process.

The Brexit talks are pro­gress­ing painfully slowly, but both sides still hope to reach a deal in Oc­to­ber ahead of Bri­tain’s with­drawal from the EU in March 2019.

May has promised to give the Bri­tish par­lia­ment a vote on the fi­nal deal, but the ques­tion is what hap­pens if law­mak­ers de­cide to re­ject it.

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