May faces Commons Brexit rebellion
Conservative rebel MPs believe they have the numbers to defeat embattled Prime Minister Theresa May today (Wednesday) and secure a “meaningful vote” on any final Brexit deal.
It could present the first significant rebellion on the EU Withdrawal Bill.
Conservative MP Dominic Grieve (pictured) is demanding the government amends the legislation.
“I remain hopeful that the government will listen to what I’ve said, but failing that I’m prepared to push to a vote,” Grieve told the Guardian.
He objects to the move to hand “Henry VIII powers” to ministers to enact the Brexit legislation without a parliamentary vote.
His amendment demands a vote on new legislation “because it is incompatible with the government’s own stated position as to how the final withdrawal agreement will be agreed by parliament”, Grieve added.
Meanwhile, Brexit “bulldog” David Davis has rushed to repair damage caused at the weekend by his comments about the deal with Brussels not being legally binding. EU bosses warned that he was “undermining trust” in the negotiating process.
European Parliament Brexit representative Guy Verhofstadt lashed out at the chief UK negotiator yesterday, saying red lines would be toughened after Davis said the agreement was “much more a statement of intent than it was a legally enforceable thing”.
Davis telephoned Verhofstadt to repair trust after two European Parliament amendments were passed.
On a brighter note for the UK government, it will only take EU citizens minutes to register online to stay in Britain after Brexit, Home Office minister Brandon Lewis has promised.
There would be a “presumption in favour” of approving applications when the process began at the end of 2018 and applicants should hear the result in a fortnight, the minister said.
Applicants would only have to answer six to eight questions.
A reciprocal deal for British citizens in the remaining EU nations is expected to be signed off by all 28 member states later this week.
Lewis told the House of Lords’ EU Justice sub-committee that non-UK citizens worried about their status “can be confident they do not have to do anything immediately”.
The application process for so-called settled status would be far simpler than those applying for permanent residency in the past, the minister promised.
“The way we are looking to develop this is using online processes where somebody spends literally a few minutes online and within a couple of weeks your settled status is dealt with and granted,” Lewis said.
Charges would be capped at about £72, about the cost of renewing a British passport, Lewis told the peers.
Conservative MP Dominic Grieve. Picture credit: Flickr