Brexit: May Un-Surrenders to Tory Remainers, Faces Parliamentary Rebellion

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The battle between Theresa May’s government, Brexit supporters, and EU loyalists in the House of Commons has reignited, with the Prime Minister walking back on an agreement to appease Remainer rebels on the EU Withdrawal Bill.

Mrs May was previously reported to have made a series of concessions to Tory rebels loyal to the European Union, agreeing to allow the Remainer-dominated Parliament to have a so-called ‘meaningful vote’ on the terms of Britain’s exit from the EU — which Leave supporters decried as an effective veto on Brexit.

Brexit supporters on the 1922 Committee — made up of Tory MPs who do not hold Government positions — were swift to react once the implications of these concessions became clear, with one senior Leaver remarking: “If Theresa and [Chief Whip Julian Smith] have sold us out here they are in real trouble. She reassured us all at the 1922. There is no way she can recover if she has now f*cked us over.”

Consequently, the Government has now changed its proposed amendment to the EU Withdrawal Bill again, so that, should MPs vote down a UK-EU Brexit deal, Theresa May announce before January 21st 2019 that no deal has been reached, or January 21st pass with no deal being struck, a Government minister will give a statement to Parliament which can be put to a “vote on neutral terms” — but with no opportunity to reject a ‘No Deal’ exit and keep Britain in the EU.

Dominic Grieve, the former attorney-general and who leads the contingent of Tory diehards loyal to the EU, has said this new version of the amendment is unacceptable and that it takes the “meaning” out of the “meaningful vote” he was demanding.

Grieve said on BBC Question Time: “The difficulty and the anxiety is that we end up with a deal which is rejected by Parliament because it doesn’t think it is good enough.

“There has been a suggestion that in those circumstances it is a binary choice and you have to leave with no deal.

“That must be wrong and Parliament in those circumstances will have to take action to try to remedy it without causing too great a political crisis — it will certainly be quite a big political crisis,” he insisted.

The issue with Grieve’s position identified by Brexiteers is that it effectively allows Remainer MPs to reject any deal the Prime Minister produces as “not good enough” and to reject the alternative of ‘No Deal’ as well — effectively cancelling Brexit.

This gives the EU very little incentive to negotiate constructively with Britain, knowing that it can stop Brexit by offering a terrible deal, safe in the knowledge that MPs will not accept it or the alternative of a ‘No Deal’ exit.

The British public voted to Leave the European Union almost two years ago in June 2016, in a referendum which MPs authorised and the Government promised to honour.

MPs from the governing Tory Party, its DUP partners, and the Labour Party opposition all stood on manifestos which promised to deliver Brexit in the subsequent 2017 snap election.

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