Published: Sun, June 17, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Grieve Says Hopes to Finalize Compromise Brexit Amendment Today

Grieve Says Hopes to Finalize Compromise Brexit Amendment Today

If they are serious, now is the time to either make one last stand, or finally accept that Brexit means Brexit.

Created to address concerns aired by pro-EU Conservative backbenchers, the amendment suggests that Parliament should have a say on the final Brexit deal.

The issue with Grieve's position identified by Brexiteers is that it effectively allows Remainer MPs to reject any deal the Prime Minister produces as "not good enough" and to reject the alternative of "No Deal" as well - effectively cancelling Brexit.

Defeat on the bill would cause a leadership crisis for May.

Pro-EU Tories have warned they remain ready to rebel if their demands are not satisfied by the compromise amendment while leading Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg claimed their idea made a "no-deal Brexit" more likely.

The government slipped out a new amendment to the EU Withdrawal Bill late on Thursday afternoon, which will offer MPs a vote in February 2019 if the prime minister has failed to secure a Brexit deal from the EU.

In the final text of the amendment published on Thursday, no effective veto on a no-deal Brexit is offered to MPs.

Defeat on a key vote next week could bring down the prime minister, whose authority is on a knife-edge in a hung parliament amid open conflict within the ruling Conservative Party.

The Conservative rebels reacted with fury to the new amendment, dismissing it as "unacceptable" and a breach of what they were promised.

Mr Grieve told the BBC: "We could collapse the Government, and I can assure you that I wake up at 2am in a cold sweat thinking about the problems that we have put on our shoulders".

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"At the end of the process, something was inexplicably changed, which had not been agreed".

"The motion is unamendable and that means that it is just a motion to take note and it is contrary to the normal procedures of the House of Commons and it is a mistake", he said, adding that he would try to persuade the government to change its mind.

Fellow Brexit rebel Anna Soubry accused the government of having altered a compromise agreed earlier in the day.

"It all changed without Dominic Grieve or anyone else being consulted".

Some Leavers were anxious MPs would vote down the deal and then instruct the Government to keep the United Kingdom in the Single Market or customs union - or perhaps the EU entirely.

Labour said the offer was "not good enough".

A spokeswoman for the Department for Exiting the European Union said the government's new amendment respected the tests set out by Brexit Secretary David Davis later on Tuesday evening, which state any compromise amendment must not undermine negotiations with Brussels or hinder the government's ability to negotiate global treaties in future.

Tom Tugendhat, Conservative chairman of the United Kingdom parliamentary foreign affairs select committee, said there would be a "new government" if Mrs May lost the so-called "meaningful vote" on the terms of withdrawal, due to take place in October. "Parliament can not - and should not - accept it".

Not only will this amendment have to pass the Lords - with the likelihood of being returned to the Commons - she now has to get the Customs Bill and Trade Bill past MPs, and get the final deal agreed.

The chances of the government being defeated when the Bill returns to the House of Commons later this month has now risen significantly, with trust between May and her MPs at an all-time low.

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