Brexit: No 10 will not accept 'meaningful vote' amendment


Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May speaks at the Royal Free Hospital, London Thomson Reuters LONDON (Reuters) - A leading pro-European Union lawmaker in Britain's ruling Conservative Party said he did not want the government to collapse in the row over parliament's role in the Brexit process.

It will mean a new cliffhanger when MPs vote on Wednesday to decide how much of a say the British Parliament should have on a Brexit deal.

Asked if voting against the Government could bring it down, Mr Grieve told BBC1's Sunday Politics: "We could collapse the Government".

"I want to ensure that Parliament does have a meaningful vote and I don't want to see that left to chance".

Mr Grieve insisted rebels would only accept a "meaningful vote" and not the "slavery clause" the Government was offering.

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Tory Lord True said the amendment would give the House of Commons "potential control over the Government in negotiations", adding: "I believe that to be utterly impractical and totally unconstitutional".

"Our original amendment struck the right balance between respecting the tests set out by the government as well as delivering on the aims of Dominic Grieve's own amendment".

While Mrs May said she had been taking on board the concerns of her critics, but stressed the legislation must not restrict her freedom in the exit talks.

"And part of that has got to be where, if (EU negotiator) Michel Barnier tries to give us a very bad deal, that she can turn around and say "no, I'd rather not do that".

"Ministers, the prime minister, in particular, have promised a meaningful vote, that promise has not been honoured", former minister Douglas Hogg, who said he had been in talks with Grieve since last week, told lawmakers as he introduced the amendment.

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The Prime Minister stated she has listened to the concerns of the rebel Tory MPs, but noted future legislation can not hamper the Government's ability to negotiate the final Brexit solution.

They want Parliament to be given more powers if no deal is agreed, or if the agreement May makes with Brussels is deemed unacceptable by MPs.

The amendment, which he described as "Grieve 2" and said was in the national interest, required the Government, in the absence of any political agreement by the end of January 21 next year, to make a statement setting out how it proposed to proceed and allow MPs to vote on it.

Crucially, the motion will be unamendable, meaning that MPs can not insert a requirement for Mrs May to go back to the negotiating table, extend the Brexit transition or revoke the UK's withdrawal under Article 50.

"We have to have the Government having the position to have the best negotiating position possible, so we can get the best deal for the United Kingdom".

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