May appeases rebels with promise
UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s latest Brexit compromise risked unravelling as her pro-EU rebels pointed to future rebellions if MPs are not given a say on the final decision.
May bought herself more time (with the March 2019 deadline looming) after agreeing to find concessions on giving parliamentarians a “meaningful vote” on any deal with Brussels.
But the government insisted it would not agree to MPs holding a veto.
Solicitor General Robert Buckland told the BBC: “There’s an expectation that a discussion will yield some fruit, and I’m not saying it won’t and it could very well end up with a further amendment in the Lords.”
So that’s all clear then.
May headed off a potential rebellion yesterday (Tuesday) with MPs voting by 324 to 298 to reject a House of Lords amendment that would have given parliamentarians the power to tell May to go back to Brussels and renegotiate another Brexit deal.
Tory rebel Dominic Grieve withdrew his own amendment, which would have given MPs powers to dictate what the government should do if no acceptable agreement is reached by February next year.
The ex-minister said May promised to table amendments in the upper house that would address their concerns.
Grieve said he hoped a compromise would be reached, warning “this isn’t the end of the matter”.
He said: “If it doesn’t happen then obviously this isn’t the end of the matter because ultimately it is very likely that this amendment will come back.”
Grieve, a prime minister in waiting, added that no government would survive if it tried to ignore parliament.
They had hoped to win permission for a judicial review which could halt Brexit talks.
Lawyers for Elizabeth Webster said there was clearly a case to go forward to a full hearing on the claim.
The case challenged whether May’s Article 50 declaration was sufficient and claimed that the government had not properly consulted MPs about leaving the EU.
Webster said “people feel passionately about protecting our constitution”.
Thousands of people donated more than £180,000 for the case.
Hugh Mercer QC told Lord Justice Gross and Mr Justice Green: “It is a public-interest challenge which aims to ensure simply that the law is applied.”
But the judges were dismissive, calling the bid “hopeless and, for that matter, totally without merit”.
Webster, 54, was seeking a declaration that no decision to withdraw from the EU, for the purposes of Article 50, had been made.
A major anti-Brexit protest is being held in London on June 23 to mark two years since the referendum. Picture credit: Eurasia Times