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Theresa May ‘expected to drop Brexit date vote’ after embarrassing Commons defeat

Theresa May ‘expected to drop Brexit date vote’ after embarrassing Commons defeat

Agnes Chambre

2 min read

Theresa May is reportedly preparing to back down on plans to enshrine the date of Brexit in law amid fears she faces another embarrassing Commons defeat.

MPs are set to vote on the move next Wednesday night before Parliament goes into recess for Christmas and New Year.

The Prime Minister tabled an amendment to the Government's own EU Withdrawal Bill setting out that the UK will quit the bloc at 11pm on 29 March, 2019.

But critics have said the change is unnecessary and could hamper Mrs May's negotiations with Brussels.

Next week's vote comes after an embarrassing defeat for the Government on Wednesday night over calls for MPs to be given a legally-binding vote on the final Brexit deal.

Despite making a string of concessions to Tory backbenchers, 11 of them still voted with the opposition to inflict a narrow 309-305 reverse.

Former attorney general Dominic Grieve, who led the rebellion, said he was willing to vote against the Government again.

He said earlier this week: "I hope very much [another rebellion] won’t be necessary because if the Government comes back with that date I’m sure the Government will be defeated and I have no desire to defeat the Government or be involved in the Government’s defeat a second time."

One of the 11 rebels Anna Soubry said last month: “It would tie our hands in a way that is not necessary.

“We might want to continue negotiations to secure a good deal.”

Officially No 10 has said there are no plans to ditch the vote, but sources have told The Times there could be a U-turn in coming days. 

The paper also reported that ministers have also contacted the 11 Tory rebels to discuss their concerns.

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