UK Labour MPs Worried by Govt's EEA Deal With EU - Frontbencher

Frederick Owens
June 14, 2018

"The government can not demonstrate the flexibility necessary for a successful deal if its hands are tied midway through that process", Davis said.

His resignation letter said that had wanted the United Kingdom to have as frictionless a deal as possible with the European Union.

The shift makes it significantly harder for the government to force through a "hard Brexit" outside the customs union and single market.

They reassured anti-Brexit MPs that the government would accept some of their core demands to give parliament a meaningful say on the terms of Britain's European Union divorce, including - potentially - a new deadline for a deal to be agreed with Brussels that could make it hard for the government.

In a painful blow the the PM, Remain-supporting MP Philip Lee quit as justice minister this morning, saying he could not support "how our country's exit from the European Union looks set to be delivered".

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May hosts a round table meeting on technology at 10 Downing Street in London, June 13, 2018.

Many of its pro-EU lawmakers went against their leader, Jeremy Corbyn, by supporting the vote and not his amendment which argued for a new single market deal with the EU.

Some lawmakers tried to shout him down and accused the government of wanting too much power.

The vote on Tuesday is the first of two days of debate that will test May's authority and her plans for leaving the EU.

They included 75 who supported EEA membership and 15 who opposed it.

This is despite his constituency voting almost 80% to remain in the June 2017 referendum.

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The government was putting a combative spin on the concessions Tuesday evening: "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 global treaties, and respecting the referendum result", a spokesperson for the Brexit department said in a statement.

Davis warned lawmakers the government would never allow them to "reverse Brexit" and called on them to back its own amendment, which proposes a 28-day breathing space if parliament rejects a Brexit deal, during which the government would have to make a statement on its plans.

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

One government official said: "It's not over yet".

May's fragile government will be trying to defeat a rebellion by pro-EU lawmakers and reverse changes to its key piece of Brexit legislation as the matter comes before the House of Commons.

"But we are not voting with the Government on this amendment because the Conservatives offer no plan for securing the full tariff free access to the EU's internal market, which is so vital for jobs and living standards in our country".

One of the thorniest issues being debated Wednesday was Britain's future customs relationship with the EU.

If May is defeated in the House of Commons it will be yet another blow to a prime minister whose authority has been challenged several times since last year's election.

May, who leads a minority government propped up by the small Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), conceded that "we need parliamentary support" to implement Brexit.

The votes tonight followed a dramatic day of politics in Westminster on Tuesday, when Prime Minister May agreed in principle to give MPs greater power in the Brexit process in order to avoid a humiliating defeat.

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