Published: Wed, June 13, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Theresa May's day of Brexit reckoning is coming, sooner or later

Theresa May's day of Brexit reckoning is coming, sooner or later

A member of Theresa May's government resigned Tuesday ahead of a key Parliamentary debate on legislation regarding Britain's departure from the European Union.

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

British Prime Minister Theresa May faces a showdown in parliament with lawmakers later on Tuesday who want a "meaningful vote" on an eventual Brexit deal and to set the government's "direction" if the house rejects the agreement.

"The Brexit secretary has set out three tests that any new amendment has to meet - not undermining the negotiations, not changing the constitutional role of parliament and government in negotiating worldwide treaties, and respecting the referendum result".

Solicitor General Robert Buckland promised to work on the proposal taking into account concerns raised by former attorney general Dominic Grieve, a leading pro-European rebel.

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The government also managed to block the meaningful vote amendment, that would have meant a softer Brexit.

May is resisting changes approved by the House of Lords that would soften Britain's exit from the European Union, because she says they will weaken the government's negotiating position. Lee, who voted for Britain to remain in the E.U.in the 2016 referendum, said in a statement he was "incredibly sad" to resign but did so in order to vote against the government's position on a key amendment to the bill.

Remain-supporting Conservative MPs had threatened to back an amendment to the bill which would have given parliament a more widespread veto.

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Talks will now be held between ministers and Tory MPs uneasy with the government's handling of Brexit, in the hope of reaching an agreement before the legislation is passed back to the House of Lords. But there is going to be no binary choice of the deal on the table or no deal, with Parliament bypassed.

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Ministers had initially refused to even consider Grieve's amendment but moved to accept it at least in part, after whips signaled that the government were likely to lose in the Commons.

The Daily Express, another pro-Brexit tabloid, issued a thinly-veiled threat to lawmakers, saying they should "Ignore the will of the people at [their] peril".

Further clashes were expected on Wednesday during debate on amendments relating to how closely Britain stays aligned with the EU's economy after leaving.

It is the legislation aimed at ensuring the United Kingdom has a smooth transition out of the EU. They told the anti-hard-Brexit rebels that they would propose their own amendment that, in effect, gave them what they wanted.

"I absolutely trust what the Prime Minister says to us", he told BBC Radio 4's PM programme.

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