United Kingdom justice minister resigns ahead of key Brexit debate

United Kingdom justice minister resigns ahead of key Brexit debate

Parliament will vote Tuesday on a key piece of legislation, the E.U. Withdrawal bill, that would transfer European Union laws now on British books into British law after Brexit.

The move would have given Parliament the power to prevent a "no-deal" Brexit. One lawmaker said the government had promised to propose a new amendment that will reflect a rebel proposal.

The cumulative effect of 14 Lords amendments which the Government is seeking to overturn could be to "make it impossible to deliver the smooth and orderly exit we want", he warned.

The UK will leave the European Union on 29 March next year. The two sides aren't yet clear exactly on the terms of their deal, but it looks likely that Parliament will emerge with a greater say in the process.

Moments later, MPs voted by 324 to 298 to reject a House of Lords amendment to the EU Withdrawal Bill which would have given Parliament the power to tell the PM to go back and renegotiate the Brexit deal she secures from Brussels.

"But if the Lords amendments are allowed to stand, that negotiating position will be undermined".

The government's eleventh hour amendment, lifted in large parts from Tory Remainer Dominic Grieve's own proposal and to be presented to the Lords on Monday, is expected to give MPs the right to veto the government's strategy if it fails to secure a political agreement with the European Union by 30 November.

Hours before the debate began, a justice minister resigned in protest at what he called its "wish to limit" the role of parliament in shaping Brexit.

Among the 14 amendments to the Bill - set to be voted on by MPs on Tuesday and Wednesday - are changes which would see the United Kingdom stay in the Single Market and would allow Parliament to dictate future negotiating terms.

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"That was the decision of the British people. and whatever we do, we're not going to reverse that", he told the BBC.

Her fellow Conservative backbencher Stephen Hammond said: "Parliament must be able to have its say in a "no deal" situation".

"If it were to turn out there was a problem, we will deal with it". "There could be a confidence motion [in the prime minister] or an early general election".

Asked about what had been promised, Mr Buckland, the solicitor general, said the government remained "open-minded" but he would not "blithely" commit to any changes until he had had those conversations.

"It has got to be done in good faith, because without that, we will face a situation where in fact, firstly, the other place will put it back in and secondly the goodwill will be gone when it comes back to this house", leading rebel Dominic Grieve told lawmakers.

He rejected suggestions ministers were already backtracking on promises made to MPs, insisting he did not want to raise any "false expectations".

During a five-hour debate, MPs reinstated the precise day the United Kingdom will leave the European Union - 29 March 2019 - in the proposed legislation while backing an amendment on the Irish border, guaranteeing there will be no new border arrangements without the agreement of the United Kingdom and Irish authorities.

Conservative Brexit campaigners accused those in the party who indicated they would vote against the government of not respecting the referendum result.

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