How Theresa May saw off another Brexit rebellion

Theresa May Dominic Grieve

Pro-EU lawmakers later accused the government of going back on its word by offering only a "take it or leave it" vote on the final deal.

The government last week agreed to an amendment stating that if there is no deal by January 21 next year, ministers must put a statement to a vote in parliament.

May welcomed the passing of the Brexit bill through the Houses of Parliament as a crucial step in delivering a smooth and orderly Brexit.

May needs to get several other bills through parliament to prepare Britain for life outside the European Union, a momentous change to its trading and political relationships after 45 years in the bloc.

With both sides claiming victory, it is not always easy to establish who or if there was a clear victor; ultimately, however, Mrs May kept the core of the Brexit Bill the same.

Tory rebels believe they can inflict defeat on the Government as the flagship legislation returns to the Commons after the Lords again backed giving MPs a "meaningful" say on the final deal.

Winning the vote is a huge relief for the prime minister, who has struggled to maintain her authority over a deeply divided government.

But the result only came after Prime Minister Theresa May offered a significant concession.

The Department for Exiting the EU (DExEU) said that it "cannot accept" the amendment which was passed by a majority of 119 and would seek to overturn it when it returns to the Commons on Wednesday.

He said: "We've managed to reach a compromise without breaking the government - and I think some people don't realise we were getting quite close to that".

But Britain - and its government - remains divided over Brexit, and European Union leaders are frustrated with what they see as a lack of firm proposals from the U.K about future relations.

MPs voted by 319 to 303 to reject a House of Lords amendment to the EU Withdrawal Bill that would have ensured the Commons would have the chance to block a "no deal" Brexit.

"We can not accept the amendment on a meaningful vote agreed in the Lords", he said, adding that it "would undermine our ability in the negotiations to get the best deal for the country".

Amid what The Guardian describes as "a welter of procedural technicalities about the powers of MPs and the potential role of the judges", lead rebel Dominic Grieve withdrew his support for his own amendment after accepting Government reassurances about its respect for the power of MPs to hold it to account. The government says this vote should be "on neutral terms", with MPs simply noting what has been said.

Mom-to-be Jo Swinson, deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats, arrived to vote while another heavily pregnant MP, Labor's Laura Pidcock, also despite came in to place her vote.

Before the Commons vote, Dominic Grieve, leader of the would-be rebels - who wanted to ensure MPs had the power to stop the United Kingdom leaving without a deal - said the "sovereignty of Parliament" had been acknowledged.

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