Government 'could accept Brexit day amendment' to head off fresh rebellion

Posted On: 
15th December 2017

Ministers are reportedly preparing to head off a crunch Commons vote on the date of Brexit by accepting a fresh amendment to the EU Withdrawal Bill.

The Government may try to avoid another Commons defeat after Wednesday's reverse

The BBC and the Times report that the Government will accept a change tabled by four Tory MPs which would allow flexibility on the UK's exit date.

It comes after rebel Tory MPs warned Theresa May she could face a second damaging Commons defeat on her flagship Brexit legislation.

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On Wednesday the Government narrowly lost a division calling for MPs to get a meaningful vote on the final deal agreed with Brussels.

The move would represent a climbdown from ministers as MPs are currently set to vote next Wednesday on whether to legally mandate that the UK leaves the bloc at 11pm on 29 March, 2019.

Critics have said the change is unnecessary and could hamper Mrs May's negotiations with Brussels.

Today’s amendment - put down by former minister Oliver Letwin, Andrea Jenkins, Jeremy Lefroy and Geoffrey Cox – says ministers will not be able to fix the date without “a resolution of each House of Parliament”.

Dominic Grieve, who led this week’s rebellion, told the BBC that the change would leave him “fairly satisfied”, while fellow pro-European Tory Vicky Ford described it as a “sensible amendment”. 

Scots Tory MP Paul Masterton also gave his backing to the proposal.