Government compromise on 'meaningful vote' avoids Brexit defeat

GETTYshadow Brexit Secretary Sir Keir Starmer yesterday hinted immigration was not a priority for Labour

The pound rose on Tuesday after British Prime Minister Theresa May saw off a rebellion in parliament over amendments to a bill for the country's exit from the European Union next year that had threatened to undermine her authority.

Earlier Phillip Lee - who quit as a justice minister to oppose the government on Brexit - received a round of applause after he set out his stance.

He has also urged Conservative pro-Remain MPs to "change the course of Brexit" and vote accordingly on a series of upcoming crunch votes in the lower house of parliament.

Also on Tuesday, the government successfully overturned an attempt to remove the date of Brexit from the face of the bill.

During a frantic day of discussions between ministers and Conservative backbenchers, potential rebels were eventually persuaded to back down when Solicitor General Robert Buckland told MPs that ministers were willing to "engage positively" with their concerns.

Phillip Lee accused the government of trying to limit parliament's role in shaping Britain's departure from the European Union and said the government's Brexit strategy was detrimental to the British people.

Ministers have conceded in principle to Tory rebels" demands for a "meaningful vote' on the eventual Brexit deal.

Passions ran high in Tuesday's three-hour debate, when angry eurosceptics accused their rivals of trying to undermine the 2016 referendum vote to leave the EU.

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The Government has won the first votes during today's Brexit showdown. But there is going to be no binary choice of the deal on the table or no deal, with Parliament bypassed. Brexit-backers objected as it would have all but removed the no-deal nuclear option from negotiators' arsenal.

Another flashpoint could come when lawmakers vote Wednesday on an amendment seeking to keep Britain in a customs union with the EU. The Daily Express thundered: "Ignore the will of the people at your peril".

Ministers had initially refused to even consider Grieve's amendment but moved to accept it at least in part, after whips signaled that the government were likely to lose in the Commons.

North Down MP Lady Sylvia Hermon said that, in the absence of a functioning assembly in Northern Ireland, it was critically important that MPs had the opportunity to fully examine and discuss the key amendments relating to no hard border and to north/south cooperation.

They have an ace up their sleeve as they go into talks with the government: if May reneges on her pledge, pro-EU members of the House of Lords will amend her legislation again.

The European Union Withdrawal Bill, a complex piece of legislation meant to disentangle Britain from four decades of EU rules and regulations, has had a rocky ride through Parliament.

"The people want us to leave the EU".

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