Up to 20 Tory MPs 'to rebel' to force 'meaningful vote' on Brexit deal
A rebellion by as many as 20 Conservative MPs could stop Theresa May from walking away from the Brexit negotiating table without a deal, it has been reported.
According to the Daily Telegraph, the Conservatives could join Labour and the Liberal Democrats in the lobbies if the Lords sends the issue back to Commons as expected.
Peers are next week likely to pass an amendment to the Brexit-triggering Article 50 bill which would force the Government to give parliament a “meaningful vote” on the Prime Minister’s draft deal with Brussels.
If the Commons then backs the amendment it would weaken Mrs May’s threat to Brussels that she could walk away if it refuses to play ball since “no deal is better than a bad deal”.
The House of Lords already defeated the Government once on the bill by backing an amendment to guarantee EU nationals living in the UK can stay and retain their full rights after Brexit.
Downing Street is urging MPs to overturn any amendments tacked onto the bill by peers when the draft legislation returns to the Commons on 13 and 14 March.
But top Tory MPs who backed Remain in the EU referendum have said at least 20 will ignore the Government’s pleas on the “meaningful vote” issue.
“The ‘meaningful’ vote is absolutely critical, it’s the deal breaker,” former business minister Anna Soubry told the paper.
“I just want us to behave in a grown up way. People have to remember 48 per cent did not vote to leave the European Union.”
But one MP told the Telegraph the Tory rebels would help overturn the amendment guaranteeing the rights of EU nationals in the UK - after reassurances of an early deal on the issue.
It comes after a claim yesterday by crossbench peer Baroness Meacher who said up to 30 Tories could rebel on the EU nationals amendment.