May survives fresh Brexit vote but rebels up the pressure
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.
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.