EU Parliament chief hails Government Brexit bill defeat as ‘a good day for democracy’
Guy Verhofstadt has praised the pro-EU rebels who last night backed a vote to give MPs a guaranteed say on the final Brexit deal struck with Brussels.
Employing the slogan of the Leave campaign ahead of the EU referendum, the European Parliament's chief Brexit coordinator said thwarting the Government's flagship Brexit bill showed MPs were “[taking] back control”.
The result marks a severe blow to Theresa May's fragile authority as Prime Minister after 14 Conservative MPs backed the amendment, wiping out her slender working majority.
MPs voted 309 to 305 in favour of the amendement tabled by former attorney general Dominic Grieve, which called for parliament to be given a "meaningful vote" on the final deal agreed between the EU and UK.
Furthermore, the embarrassing defeat came ahead of the European Council summit, which Mrs May is attend today and receive the green light for trade talks to kick off.
Last night Mr Verhofstadt tweeted that the result - the Government’s first defeat on its EU Withdrawal Bill - was a “good day democracy”.
Meanwhile former Ukip leader Nigel Farage told LBC radio that those behind the amendment are “utterly determined, hundreds of them, to do what they can to overturn the Brexit result”.
“It is just as simple as that,” he added.
Danuta Hübner, a former EU commissioner, backed the move, but said it meant MPs now had “increased responsibility."
“Lawmakers in London will now have the power and a decisive vote on the Brexit deal. However, it is not only about power. It is first of all about increased responsibility,” she said.