EXCL Tory rebels up in arms after Downing Street rejects Brexit compromise

Posted On: 
13th June 2018

Rebel Tory MPs have reacted angrily after Downing Street announced it was rejecting an attempt to give Parliament the power to prevent the UK leaving the European Union without a deal.

Theresa May is facing a fresh showdown with Tory MPs over Brexit.
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Theresa May managed to head off a Commons defeat by telling more than a dozen of her MPs that the Government was prepared to accept two key sections of an amendment by Conservative MP Dominic Grieve to the EU Withdrawal Bill.

They included a commitment that the House of Commons will have a veto over the course of action the Government takes if it has not reached a Brexit deal with Brussels by the end of November.

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She also pledged, the rebels said, to hold talks on the third section of the amendment, which would prevent a no deal Brexit by putting Parliament in charge if no agreement is reached with the EU by 15 February next year.

But asked by journalists today whether the Government now believed the third section was "not up for discussion" any more, a spokesman for the Prime Minister said: "I think that is a fair assessment."

In response, one Tory rebel told PoliticsHome: "Well there will be no agreement. That was not what the PM told us yesterday. It was to be discussed."

Another rebel added: "No one has told me this and I shall ignore it until I am. There were difficulties identified with that part of the amendment, but it was not ruled out from discussion. We are looking for solutions to address the area of difference."

Former minister Anna Soubry also took to Twitter to voice her anger.

Number 10 also revealed that it will tomorrow publish its own compromise amendment to be voted on by the House of Lords next week. However, it has yet to hold any talks with Mr Grieve or any of the other rebels about what will be in it.

One Conservative MP said last night that if the Government did not address the rebels' concerns, they would bring back the Grieve amendment "and it's pretty clear where the numbers are".

In apparent defiance of the deal the rebels believed they had struck with Mrs May, a spokesperson for the Department for Exiting the EU last night said: "On the meaningful vote we have agreed to look for a compromise when this goes back to the Lords. 

"The Brexit Secretary has set out three tests that any new amendment has to meet – not undermining the negotiations, not changing the constitutional role of Parliament and Government in negotiating international treaties, and respecting the referendum result.

"We have not, and will not, agree to the House of Commons binding the Government's hands in the negotiations."