Theresa May insists Brexit Bill is 'making progress' despite humiliating Commons defeat

Posted On: 
14th December 2017

Theresa May has insisted that the Government’s landmark Brexit Bill is still “making good progress” despite suffering a humiliating defeat in the Commons last night. 

Theresa May spoke to journalists as she arrived at an EU Council summit in Brussels

The Prime Minister admitted that she was “disappointed” with the result, after 11 Tory rebels defied the party whip to ensure Parliament gets a meaningful vote on the final Brexit deal.  

But she stressed that the Government had still won 35 of the 36 votes held on the bill so far, and refused to give ground to those warning she faces another defeat next week.

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Speaking as she arrived in Brussels for a European Council summit today, Mrs May said: “Just look at the passage of the EU Withdrawal Bill so far, as I say it has been making good progress through the House of Commons.

“We have actually had 36 votes on the EU Withdrawal Bill and we have won 35 of those votes, with an average majority of 22. So, the bill is making good progress.  

“We are on course to deliver Brexit, we are on course to deliver on the vote of the British people.”

Yesterday’s vote triggered vicious infighting within the Conservative party, with outspoken backbencher Nadine Dorries taking to Twitter to call for Tory rebels to be deselected.

Today’s EU summit is expected to sign off the beginning of phase two of the Brexit negotiations, following last week’s agreement on the Northern Irish border, the divorce bill and the rights of EU and UK citizens.

European Commission president Jean-Claude Junker said the deal meant “sufficient progress” had been to move on to trade talks.  

Mrs May said today she wanted to build a "deep and special partnership" between the UK and EU after Brexit.