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Britain's May defuses revolt in parliament over Brexit plans

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Britain's May defuses revolt in parliament over Brexit plans

By Elizabeth Piper, Andrew MacAskill and William James

 

2018-06-12T150040Z_1_LYNXMPEE5B1A1_RTROPTP_4_BRITAIN-EU-PARLIAMENT.JPG

An anti-Brexit protester waves an EU flag opposite the Houses of Parliament in London, Britain June 8, 2018. REUTERS/Simon Dawson

 

LONDON (Reuters) - Prime Minister Theresa May defused a rebellion in parliament over her Brexit plans on Tuesday but only after having to compromise and hand lawmakers more control over Britain's departure from the European Union.

 

After winning Tuesday's ballot over changes to a future "meaningful vote" on a final agreement with Brussels in her EU withdrawal bill, May's plans to end more than 40 years of membership in the bloc were still on track.

 

Her concession to discuss the changes may mean lawmakers could have more power if she fails to secure aBrexit deal, possibly leading to a softer approach to Britain's divorce. However, as things stand now, they will not be able to send the government back into negotiations if they reject an agreement with the EU.

 

Brexit campaigners still voiced concern that the concession may open the door to the EU trying to force Britain into retaining the closest possible ties with the bloc by weakening the government's hand in the talks.

 

Pro-EU lawmakers, however, welcomed it as a signal that the government was moving towards ruling out a hardline "no deal" Brexit.

 

For now, May saw off a revolt that would have challenged her authority at a time when she is increasingly under pressure to move ahead with all-but-stalled Brexit talks in Brussels by offering a more detailed plan.

 

The pound traded higher against the euro and the dollar after the votes.

 

Brexit minister David Davis had earlier warned lawmakers that the government would never allow them to "reverse Brexit" or undermine negotiations.

 

After the vote, a Brexit department spokesman said: "We have not, and will not, agree to the House of Commons binding the government's hands in the negotiation."

 

The government's victory was the first major win in two days of debates on its EU withdrawal bill, which will sever ties with the EU, after the upper house of parliament, the House of Lords, introduced 15 changes.

 

It followed a strained parliamentary session, where the deep nationwide divisions opened up by Britain's vote to leave the EU in 2016 were on display, with pro-EU lawmakers saying they had received death threats.

 

CONCESSIONS

In a tense atmosphere where it was not clear which way the vote would go, the government secured its victory only after offering concessions to one of the leaders of a group of Conservative lawmakers who were threatening to vote against May.

 

An hour before the vote, the government's solicitor general, Robert Buckland, promised lawmaker Dominic Grieve talks on increasing the powers of parliament if May was unable to reach agreement in Brussels. The two then discussed a deal in whispers as other lawmakers made speeches around them. It was sealed at a private meeting between May and potential rebels.

 

Buckland indicated the government would look into the possibility of adopting Grieve's push for ministers to secure parliamentary approval for their Brexit plans if they fail to negotiate a deal with the EU. It paid off.

 

"I'm quite satisfied that we are going to get a meaningful vote on both 'deal' and 'no deal'," Grieve told Sky News.

 

But the latest manoeuvre by a minority government that has been forced to compromise with parliament worried some lawmakers who feared it would hand the EU an incentive to withhold any agreement on an exit deal to force a "softer" Brexit.

 

"This needs to be resolved," Andrew Bridgen, a pro-Brexit Conservative lawmaker, told Reuters.

 

The Labour Party's Chuka Umunna, who backed staying in the EU, welcomed the concession as the end of the government threatening to allow Britain to crash out of the EU without a deal.

 

KICKING DOWN THE ROAD

Earlier, May appeared to have also stemmed a rebellion on Wednesday over her commitment to leaving the EU's customs union which will transform Britain's trading relationships for decades to come.

 

But her parliamentary problems will not stop there. Rebels have said they will challenge May's plans to leave the customs union during votes on other bills, on trade and customs, which will be brought back to the house some time before July 24.

 

There is little May can do. After losing her party's majority in parliament at an ill-judged election last year, she now relies on the support of a small Northern Irish party and the distance between victory and defeat is narrow.

 

Often she simply puts off votes that could end in embarrassing defeats.

 

But as time ticks by, she can no longer kick decisions down the road, increasingly under pressure from EU negotiators to come up with detailed positions not only on customs, but also on the wider trade agreement and governance.

 

The EU is expecting her to have made progress by a summit in June and both sides want to reach a deal by October.

 

In a day of drama, May's position seemed suddenly weaker when junior justice minister Phillip Lee, who has long been critical of Brexit strategy, resigned and said he would vote against the government.

 

Labour's Brexit policy chief, Keir Starmer, said May had been forced to avoid a "humiliating defeat" and "to enter negotiations with her backbenchers".

 

(Additional reporting by Michael Holden; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

 
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-- © Copyright Reuters 2018-06-13

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1 hour ago, phantomfiddler said:

Keep it up, Theresa, soon we will be shot of all those parasitic losers ?

It would appear that you like seeing your savings and pension in the UK diminish by more than 20% or is it that you do not live abroad. If that is the case then wait until all imported goods go up in price by 20%. Who will you blame then?

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6 hours ago, webfact said:

Britain's May defuses revolt in parliament over Brexit plans

She left office? :whistling:

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12 minutes ago, dick dasterdly said:

The saga of trying to derail brexit goes on and on....

Significantly that has been a Hard Brexiteer story and what they want is a car crash Brexit bypassing Parliamentary consideration all down the line. A part of that story has been the removal of Theresa May and replacement by either Davis or Mogg. It is that scenario which is derailed for now.

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Posted (edited)
10 hours ago, ResandePohm said:

It would appear that you like seeing your savings and pension in the UK diminish by more than 20% or is it that you do not live abroad. If that is the case then wait until all imported goods go up in price by 20%. Who will you blame then?

I'm not sure what you mean by that. Thailands exchange rate is 20% worse than pre-brexit but only by coincidence.

All the other Asian exchange rates are the same or better than they were before Brexit.

As long as you don't live in Thailand, you won't have a problem.

Edited by BritManToo

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3 hours ago, BritManToo said:

I'm not sure what you mean by that. Thailands exchange rate is 20% worse than pre-brexit but only by coincidence.

All the other Asian exchange rates are the same or better than they were before Brexit.

As long as you don't live in Thailand, you won't have a problem.

"As long as you don't live in Thailand, you won't have a problem."  :cheesy:?:cheesy:

Leave right now!

 

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9 hours ago, dunroaming said:

So as I understand it, what her concessions last night  meant were that,  May has got until the 30th November to come up with an agreed deal with the EU or parliament gets a say.  If it is not agreed by February 2019 then the negotiations are handed over to parliament to make the final decisions.  This effectively means that any "no deal"  is now completely off of the table.

Obviously, after the EU have been pushing hard for the UK's proposals, they will now do their best to slow the process down which will force May to agree to more concessions and a softer Brexit before the November deadline.

If phantomfiddler thinks that May is doing a good job then I can only imagine that he doesn't understand just what a screw-up she has made of this.

Hard Brexiteers starting their moaning already.

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1 hour ago, dick dasterdly said:

 

It depends on how you look at it.

 

The referendum result was to leave the eu, but parliament/the eu and the media have turned this into 'hard or soft' brexit - and 'soft' brexit (if I understand correctly) means remaining part of the customs union and continuing to support the eu financially?  i.e. Not leaving in any meaningful sense of the word.

 

If this is the case, it's hardly suprising that brexiteers are less than happy!

It might have been an idea to present a plan before deciding to set off.

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1 hour ago, dick dasterdly said:

 

It depends on how you look at it.

 

The referendum result was to leave the eu, but parliament/the eu and the media have turned this into 'hard or soft' brexit - and 'soft' brexit (if I understand correctly) means remaining part of the customs union and continuing to support the eu financially?  i.e. Not leaving in any meaningful sense of the word.

 

If this is the case, it's hardly suprising that brexiteers are less than happy!

 

13 minutes ago, Chomper Higgot said:

It might have been an idea to present a plan before deciding to set off.

Yes.

 

Blame Cameron and the govt. for being so confident that the result would be remain, that they never bothered coming up with a plan in the event of a leave vote.....

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