Brexit rebellion costs British PM May another minister

Cheryl Sanders
July 18, 2018

His remarks come after the PM narrowly avoided a defeat on its Customs Bill by agreeing to Brexiteers' demands to change its wording.

Defence minister Guto Bebb voted against the Government, effectively quitting his frontbench role.

The votes were preceded by frantic activity in the Commons, with live negotiations conducted on the floor of the chamber as Government whips led by Julian Smith made approaches to rebel MPs.

On Monday night, Mrs May bowed to pressure and accepted four amendments from Brexiteers to a key piece of legislation, including one aiming to block her plan to lock the United Kingdom in a customs deal with the European Union (EU).

The respondents were also asked whether, in hindsight, they thought that the United Kingdom was right to vote to leave the European Union, with 42% answering yes and 47% saying no.


The MP has also further enraged her Constituency Labour Party (CLP) by co-signing an amendment with the DUP, which they say undermined the Good Friday Agreement.

The government, which does not have a Commons majority, has been under pressure from MPs on both sides of the Brexit debate.

A spokesman said: "As set out in the White Paper, the United Kingdom is seeking participation in the European Medicines Agency".

In extraordinary scenes, the trade minister George Hollingbery engaged in open negotiations with the customs union rebels from the dispatch box, offering them a Lords amendment for a "customs arrangement" backstop if they backed down.

The European Union must show "flexibility" in the Brexit talks to avoid a "catastrophic" no-deal scenario, the first minister has said. We have a Prime Minister who is in office, but not in power.


Government whips overcame the rebellion by a dozen Tory lawmakers - reportedly issuing last-ditch threats it would prompt a no-confidence vote in the prime minister - by just seven votes.

Tory MP Gillian Keegan (Chichester) later drew upon the Rolling Stones over Brexit, telling the Commons: "I can't help think that if we'd been offered a deal a few years ago that ended free movement, stopped future payments to the European Union, continued frictionless trade, regained control over our fisheries and farming policies, with no hard border in Northern Ireland, we'd have readily agreed to this - in fact, we'd have bitten their hand off".

With Brussels expected to reject the government's proposals in the White Paper when Brexit talks resume next week, speculation is mounting that the United Kingdom could face a Brussels ultimatum to choose between a Norway-style deal inside the single market, or leave the European Union with no deal at all.

Three Labour MPs voted with the government.

But despite speculation suggesting a potential setback for Mrs May, the trade bill amendment was defeated by 307 votes to 301. The Prime Minister then heads for her most challenging date of the day, where she will appear before the 1922 Committee of backbench Tory MPs.


Labour Brexiteers Frank Field, Kate Hoey, John Mann and Graham Stringer - along with independent Kelvin Hopkins - voted with the Government.

Other reports by iNewsToday

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