PM May wins vote in parliament on Brexit

PM May wins vote in parliament on Brexit

May's government is divided between Brexit-backing ministers such as Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson who support a clean break with the European Union, and those such as Treasury chief Philip Hammond who want to keep closely aligned to the bloc, Britain's biggest trading partner.

The Government appeared to be on course for defeat when Phillip Lee resigned from his position as Justice Minister the morning of the vote in order to back the amendment.

"This is the moment when we have to tell each other the truth", said Hilary Benn, a Labour lawmaker who voted for the EEA motion.

Labour MP Ian Murray blamed the government for the lack of debating time, saying United Kingdom ministers could have ensured votes did not take away from the time available for members to speak.

The statement would be unamendable, meaning that it would be treated as a vote of confidence, potentially threatening the government's existence.

A spokeswoman for the Department for Exiting the European Union said the government's new amendment respected the tests set out by Brexit Secretary David Davis later on Tuesday evening, which state any compromise amendment must not undermine negotiations with Brussels or hinder the government's ability to negotiate worldwide treaties in future.

"What it actually amounts to is an unconstitutional shift which risks undermining our negotiation with the European Union", he said.

In a highly charged atmosphere in parliament, lawmakers who oppose the government said they had received death threats and brandished a copy of one of Britain's tabloid newspapers, the Daily Express, which ran a headline saying: "Ignore the will of the people at your peril".

His Conservative colleague Anna Soubry accused the government of breaking promises made to the rebels.

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The drama came 48 hours after the Prime Minister managed to stave off a damaging Commons defeat on the issue by promising rebel MPs she would give ground over the so-called "meaningful vote".

Some Conservative MPs are sceptical about the need for the Grieve amendment.

It was not as simple on Tuesday, when May was forced to blunt another rebellion in parliament by offering a compromise that could hand lawmakers more control over Brexit.

"The government has made the motion unamendable, contrary to the usual methods of the House of Commons and therefore it can not be accepted", he said.

The government won the EEA vote comfortably after Labour abstained, although a handful of Tory MPs, including former attorney general Dominic Grieve, indicated they would back the motion.

The resignation by Phillip Lee, who has always been critical of the government's Brexit strategy, underlined the deep rifts in the party makes such votes anything but easy.

First, "MPs voted to reverse the Lords amendment removing the "exit day" from the bill by 326 votes to 301 - a majority of 25".

"It would tie the hands of the Government in a way that I think could make no deal more likely", said Mr Buckland.

Future trading and customs arrangements have become perhaps the most sensitive issue in the UK's negotiations with Brussels.

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