Tory rebels not backing down over 'meaningful vote' Brexit amendment

Posted On: 
13th December 2017

Conservative MPs are refusing to back down ahead of a crunch vote on the Government’s Brexit bill despite a last-ditch attempt from David Davis to allay their concerns.

Dominic Grieve accused ministers of conducting a "dialogue of the deaf"
Sky News

Several Tories have indicated they will back an amendment from former attorney general Dominic Grieve to secure a Commons vote on the Brexit deal before it is finalised.

It means Theresa May could be facing an embarrassing defeat as she heads into this week’s European Council meeting in Brussels.

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Mr Davis tried to head off the rebellion with a letter to colleagues promising a vote on the deal “as soon as possible after negotiations”.

The Brexit Secretary has also issued a written statement promising not to implement any parts of the agreement until that vote has taken place.

But Mr Grieve indicated he would not be backing down, accusing ministers of conducting a “dialogue of the deaf” over the issue.

Elsewhere the BBC reports some rebel MPs describing the Government’s move as “not good enough”.

One of the rebels, Anna Soubry, welcomed efforts to reach a compromise but said ministers should still accept the amendment.


Mr Grieve expressed particular concern about clause nine of the bill, which he claims would allow ministers to get around a parliamentary vote.


Speaking to Sky News, he insisted his amendment was not an attempt to scupper the Brexit process.

“The reason why I have tabled an amendment is not to stop Brexit; it’s to question why this power is in this bill in the way it is when in fact it’s a power that the government should not and ought not to be using,” he said.

“And at the moment, unfortunately, the Government has not given me a clear answer. And so for that reason I hope very much they will listen because I don’t think my amendment prevents them, in the long term, from doing what they have stated they want to do.

“The Government needs to listen to what’s being said to them. And at the moment, unfortunately, my impression of the last few days, when I’ve been talking to the Government, is that it seems to be a bit of a dialogue of the deaf.

“They’ve turned this into a battle of wills. And this is a completely pointless exercise. They need to listen to the point that’s being made and they need to respond to it.”

Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer indicated that Labour would be backing Mr Grieve’s amendment.