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Government wins Brexit bill vote after concessions

Government wins Brexit bill vote after concessions

Brexit Secretary David Davis, who reportedly has clashed with May, has warned Conservative Party rebels that proposals to give Parliament the power to direct negotiations with the European Union are simply a tactic to overturn the results of the 2016 referendum that mandated Britain's departure from the bloc. "It is, however, irresponsible to proceed as we are".

Former Attorney-general Dominic Grieve, a leading pro-E.U. rebel, has put down a compromise amendment on the meaningful vote, calling for a binding motion to be passed by the Commons setting out how to proceed in the event of a "no deal" Brexit.

The Lib Dems, who identify strongly as an anti-Brexit party to the point of pushing for a second referendum and running by-elections in Remain-friendly seats on that platform, opposed the Government. "It enables parliament to dictate to government its course of action in an worldwide negotiation".

Speaking to reporters outside the meeting, Solicitor General Robert Buckland confirmed the Government was in discussions with rebels about establishing a fresh amendment committing to seek a customs arrangement - not a union - with the EU.

British Prime Minister Theresa May narrowly avoided a major blow to her Brexit strategy Tuesday after MPs rejected a plan that would have given parliament a veto on the final deal negotiated with Brussels.

A minister long critical of the government's handling of Brexit resigned earlier in protest at what he called its "wish to limit" the role of lawmakers in the process.

While promising "further discussions", he said he was concerned that empowering Parliament to "instruct" ministers what to do in the event of no deal would leave the United Kingdom in "very rocky constitutional territory".

Further clashes were expected on Wednesday during debate on amendments relating to how closely Britain stays aligned with the EU's economy after leaving.

Parliamentary debates about complex legal amendments rarely rouse much heat, but passions run high over anything to do with Brexit.

It featured a British flag and the headline: "Ignore the will of the people at your peril".

A file photograph of justice minister Phillip Lees.

Anna Soubry, a pro-EU Conservative lawmaker, said she knew of one legislator who would not vote with their conscience because of "threats to their personal safety" and that of staff and family.

May's divided cabinet has yet to settle on what sort of customs deal Britain should have with the European Union - an issue of crucial importance to businesses with cross-border supply chains, and the land border between European Union member state Ireland and the British province of Northern Ireland. After losing her party's majority in parliament at an ill-judged election a year ago, she now relies on the support of a small Northern Irish party and the distance between victory and defeat is narrow. But May is facing a potential rebellion from some Conservative lawmakers who want to retain close ties with the bloc after the United Kingdom leaves in March 2019.

"A meaningful vote is not the ability to reverse the decision of the referendum", Brexit Secretary David Davis told BBC radio.

A paper laying out the U.K. government position, due to be published this month, has been delayed because the Cabinet can not agree on a united stance.

The move represents a dramatic climbdown from Mrs May's original plan to offer MPs a "take it or leave it" vote to accept the withdrawal agreement or leave the European Union without a deal.

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