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It’s crunch time in battle for ‘meaningful vote’

by Luke Lythgoe | 20.06.2018

It’s crunch time. The final battle over a meaningful vote will be joined in the House of Commons this afternoon, with a vote expected around 3.30pm. MPs must not allow Theresa May to turn Parliament into a rubber stamp for whatever emerges from her Brexit talks – even if that’s a miserable deal or no deal at all.

The vote is on a knife-edge according to most press reports. Dominic Grieve, the former attorney general behind the amendment returning from the House of Lords today, is being reasonable – seeking a “sensible compromise” between the government and pro-European Tory backbenchers.

The amendment would give MPs the power to “approve” the government’s proposed course of action if May’s deal is voted down by Parliament or no deal is reached with the EU. The Times has a comprehensive list of 18 Tories who might rebel.

Demand a vote on the Brexit deal

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May, on the other hand, has dug her heels in, saying her government “cannot accept” the amendment. The bullying by the Brexit press has gone on until the last minute. The Mail has an article warning that Tories who step out of line could be deselected as MPs. Anna Soubry, one of the leading rebels, hit back at the bullying on Twitter explaining that “death threats [are] becoming routine” and making the so-called mutineers “more resolute”.

The Tory whips have reportedly abandoned attempts to put pressure on their own pro-Europeans, instead trying to win over Labour MPs in Leave-voting constituencies, according to The Times. A promise to go easy on these Labour politicians at the next election is apparently even being dangled.

Today is MPs’ chance to take back control from May’s hard-Brexit government, to demand a real say on what is likely to be a miserable Brexit deal, and to stop the UK crashing out of the EU in a disastrous no-deal Brexit. They must not flinch.

Edited by Hugo Dixon

One Response to “It’s crunch time in battle for ‘meaningful vote’”

  • MPs were far too trusting of Government promises on the further meaningful involvement of Parliament . In reality the Government have been utterly ruthless in overriding any parliamentary involvement or conventions (including refusing the parlamentary practice of pairing with ill MPs unable to attend Commons). Only due to Gina Miller taking them to the High Court do we have any parliamentary scrutiny, and their desparate olive branches handed out to Tory rebels in the last 2 votes have prevented defeats.
    I think those Pro-Europe Tories who know this keeps a hard destructive No Deal Brexit very much on the table, have been far too trusting of the Government. Why? Did they not learn their lesson from the previous last ditch intervention on the floor of the Commons? Or have they just succumbed to bullying, or dare I say, even more sinister tactics to elicit their support? Now, enormous pressure will be on one man, the Speaker Bercow, to allow further decision making by Parliament on the crucial terms of Brexit. It would have been so much easier to just vote the Lords amendments through. The Brexit Bill is not just solely a matter for a few ministers. There is a majority in Parliament that opposes a hard destructive Brexit, but they have allowed themselves to be out manoeuvred.