May forced to climbdown to dodge defeat

PUBLISHED: 17:33 12 June 2018 | UPDATED: 18:39 12 June 2018

Conservative  Dominic Grieve speaks in the House of Commons
Photo: PA

Conservative Dominic Grieve speaks in the House of Commons Photo: PA

PA Archive/PA Images

A last-gasp government concession to Tory rebels has avoided an embarrassing defeat in the House of Commons.

Former justice minister Phillip Lee speaking during the debate in the House of Commons
Photo: PAFormer justice minister Phillip Lee speaking during the debate in the House of Commons Photo: PA

After a debate with barnstorming speeches from Tory Remainers Ken Clarke, Anna Soubry and Phillip Lee the government was forced to accept it could be defeated.

Dominic Grieve tabled an amendment last night which forced the government’s hand over the issue of a meaningful vote. When the government realised it could be defeated solicitor general Robert Buckland confirmed to a packed chamber there was “much merit” in Grieve’s amendment adding “the government is willing to engage positively”.

This assurance was enough to convince Tory rebels to vote with the government.

It is believed the deal will see parliament playing a bigger role in Brexit negotiations if there is no deal by November 30 this year. If that does prove to be the case is represents a big climb down for Theresa May.

Earlier Phillip Lee – who quit as a justice minister to oppose the government on Brexit – received a round of applause after he set out his stance.

In his speech Grieve said he wanted to see progress on having a “proper structure” to address a no deal scenario, adding: “I don’t think this Bill can finish its course and get royal assent until we have that.”

Grieve welcomed the Buckland’s pledge but warned it must “be done in good faith”.

He said: “I’m conscious that if we’re to make progress we ought to try and do this by consensus, but he must also understand the difficulty the House is in when it is faced with this kind of choice.

“I’ve been through this before when in opposition and now that when we’re in Government, because if the House makes the concession of allowing the dialogue to continue and I can see the merit of that happening, it has got to be done in good faith.”

He added: “The reality is if we don’t have a mechanism by which this House can properly shape the crisis that will be enfolding us at the end of February if we haven’t got a deal, then we will do it in an ad hoc way which is likely to be infinitely more damaging to the well-being of the citizens of the United Kingdom.”

Buckland responded by telling MPs that Grieve’s comments would form “a clear basis for a formal set of discussions that we can start at the earliest opportunity”.

The Grieve amendment states:

1 – Within seven days of the statement MPs would have to vote on a motion approving the government’s approach;

2 – If there is no agreement by November 30, the government would have to give MPs the chance to vote on a motion saying what should happen next;

3 – If there is no agreement by February 15, 2019, the government have to bring the matter to the Commons within five days.

The final vote, as outlined in Grieve third point, would be different as the government would then have to follow any direction given by the Commons. Sources have said the government is happy to implement the first two points and will discuss the last one.

During her speech former Tory minister Anna Soubry hit out at the “deeply-divided cabinet”, telling MPs: “Never before have we been in a situation where we have a cabinet who is so divided.

“Where some of its most senior people who hold the greatest offices of state, at every twist and turn, when our Prime Minister moves towards securing a Brexit that will serve everybody in our country, the softest, most sensible Brexit, both publicly and privately they undermine her and scupper her attempts.

“It simply has to stop and that moment is now.”

You've seen the news, now discover the story

The New European is committed to providing in-depth analysis of the Brexit process, its implications and progress as well as celebrating European life.

Try 13 weeks for £13

Support The New European's vital role as a voice for the 48%

The New European is proud of its journalism and we hope you are proud of it too. We believe our voice is important - both in representing the pro-EU perspective and also to help rebalance the right wing extremes of much of the UK national press. If you value what we are doing, you can help us by making a contribution to the cost of our journalism.

  • Become a friend of The New European for a contribution of £48. You will qualify for a mention in our newspaper (should you wish)
  • Become a partner of The New European for a contribution of £240. You will qualify for a mention in our newspaper (should you wish) and receive a New European Branded Pen and Notebook
  • Become a patron of The New European for a contribution of £480. You will qualify for a mention in our newspaper (should you wish) and receive a New European Branded Pen and Notebook and an A3 print of The New European front cover of your choice, signed by Editor Matt Kelly

By proceeding, you agree to the New Europeans supporters club Terms & Conditions which can be found here.



Supporter Options

Mention Me in The New European



If Yes, Name to appear in The New European



Latest Articles

Podcast

ANTI-BREXIT EVENTS

Grassroots anti-Brexit campaigners are increasing the pressure on politicians ahead of a series of important votes this year. Here is a list of the events organised across Britain in the coming weeks and months.

Trending

Newsletter Sign Up

The New European weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy