Published: Thu, June 14, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

After compromise, Britain's May set to avoid parliament defeat on customs

After compromise, Britain's May set to avoid parliament defeat on customs

The government was putting a combative spin on the concessions Tuesday evening: "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 worldwide treaties, and respecting the referendum result", a spokesperson for the Brexit department said in a statement.

"That is why Labour governments have always addressed these problems by properly funding the NHS, by having a national minimum wage, investing in our schools and so on".

MPs, ministers and officials all agreed Tuesday that a soft Brexit or even the prospect of no Brexit is greatly increased - so too the prospect of a snap early election before the end of the year.

In an effort to bring some clarity to the debate - and to dispel allegations made by some in the United Kingdom, including the government's own chief Brexit negotiator, that Brussels is being hard in negotiations to punish Britain for leaving - European Union figures have become very fond of going back to Brexit basics. MPs will vote again on the issue later in the summer.

One pro-European Tory, Mr Nicky Morgan, told the BBC that Mrs May "understood that Parliament wants to have a real say, in all circumstances, in relation to what's going to happen in the Brexit deal".

Supporters of this policy argue it would protect British jobs and go some way to preserving the invisible Irish border, while detractors point out it would prevent Britain from signing its own trade deals after it has left the EU. The Times reported on Thursday that Brexit-supporting ministers besides Davis believed May had "deceived" them by keeping them in the dark about the backstop document.

Mrs May was responding to a question from Conservative arch-Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg, who said it was vital that any amendment preserved the separation between the roles of Government and Parliament.

It was a second win for May after she persuaded rebels in her Conservative party on Tuesday to reject a Lords amendment that would have allowed parliament to block the government from leaving the European Union with no deal.

UN Assembly blames Israel for Gaza violence, but not Hamas
The adopted resolution calls for "consideration of measures to guarantee the safety and protection" of Palestinian civilians. The US, Israel, Australia, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Togo and the Solomon Islands voted against the measure.

On Tuesday, parliament will also debate other amendments, including a challenge to the government's plan to put March 29, 2019, or "Brexit Day", into law and an attempt to toughen a commitment to ensure a frictionless border between Northern Ireland and the neighbouring Irish Republic, which will remain in the EU. The prime minister still has time to come up with a form of words acceptable to both sides, but the expectations of the anti-Brexit rebels have been raised significantly.

Solicitor General Robert Buckland promised to discuss incorporating concerns raised by former attorney general and rebel Dominic Grieve.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

A total of 89 of the party's 257 MPs ignored front bench orders to abstain from voting either for or against an amendment to the EU (Withdrawal Bill) that sought to prioritise European Economic Area (EEA) membership in EU negotiations. The votes were won quite comfortably in the end - or as comfortable as you can be with only 316 MPs, ten short of a majority. Further votes will take place on Wednesday but the government is unlikely to be defeated on any of them. However, the party is divided on the issue, with a total of 89 Labour MPs choosing to defy Corbyn.

But five parliamentary private secretaries (PPS) voted in favour of the EEA amendment; Ged Killen, Ellie Reeves, Tonia Antoniazzi, Anna McMorrin and Rosie Duffield, with all but Ms Duffield announcing their resignation before the vote.

Meanwhile, Remain-backing Labour MPs made passionate arguments for Britain to stay in the EEA, telling the Commons it would save the economy from Brexit.

Barnier hit out at Britain's pro-Brexit politicians who accuse the European Union of taking a tough stand that slows the pace of negotiations.

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