Theresa May braced for Brexit rebellion after rejecting ‘meaningful vote’ compromise
Theresa May could be heading for a bruising Brexit defeat after rejecting a bid by Tory rebel Dominic Grieve to find a compromise on the so-called ‘meaningful vote’.
The Government’s flagship EU Withdrawal Bill heads back to the Commons today after the House of Lords demanded a string of changes to the Brexit legislation, including handing Parliament complete control over the withdrawal process if MPs reject Mrs May’s deal with Brussels.
In a bid to stave off rebellion, Remain-backing former attorney general Mr Grieve last night tabled an 11th-hour amendment softening the Lords changes and offering the Government a compromise.
But Downing Street moved rapidly to shut down the alternative this morning, with a Government source saying: "We are not backing the Grieve amendment - the government has tabled an amendment on this matter already."
Mr Grieve’s compromise plan would have given ministers seven days to set out a fresh approach to MPs if the Commons ended up rejecting the Government's deal with Brussels.
It would then have given them until 30 November to try to strike a new deal, before MPs got a fresh vote on whether to accept it.
If there was still no deal by February 15 next year, the Government would have had to hand over the reins to the House of Commons to set its Brexit strategy.
But the Government's own amendment insists that ministers should have 28 days before having to come to the Commons with a back-up plan, and should then "make a statement setting out how Her Majesty’s Government proposes to proceed".
The rejection of Mr Grieve's amendment came as Justice Minister Philip Lee shocked Westminster by dramatically resigning onstage at a think tank event over the Government's stance on Brexit scrutiny.
"When MPs vote on the House of Lords’ amendments to the EU Withdrawal Bill I will support the amendment which will empower Parliament to reject a bad deal and direct the Government to re-enter discussions," he said.
"For me, this is about the important principle of Parliamentary sovereignty. Then, when the Government is able to set out an achievable, clearly defined path – one that has been properly considered, whose implications have been foreseen, and that is rooted in reality not dogma – it should go to the people, once again, to seek their confirmation."