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Tory minister criticised for "plain nasty" Brexit hanging comments

20 June 2018

The British government was rocked by a resignation and faced anger in Parliament over its Brexit plans Tuesday, but staved off defeat by offering concessions to lawmakers who want to soften the terms of the U.K.'s exit from the European Union.

Minutes later, all but two of the Tory MPs voted with the Government to reject a Lords amendment that would have given Parliament the power to tell the PM to go back and renegotiate the Brexit deal she secures from Brussels.

The Prime Minister was expected to emerge unscathed on Wednesday from a second day of crunch votes in the House of Commons on the EU Withdrawal Bill.

The Government's ultimate weapon of invoking the Parliament Act to ensure the Commons gets its way is less potent than usual because of the tight deadline for completing legislation ahead of Brexit Day on March 29 next year.

The spokesman added, following talks with the potential Tory rebels, the government would bring forward an amendment to the EU Withdrawal Bill, echoing Mr Grieve's, when it returns to the House of Lords on Monday.

The government says the changes would weaken Britain's negotiating position and is seeking to reverse them in the Commons.

In fresh signs of Tory infighting, former minister Nick Boles took a swipe at David Davis for his threats to resign over the Brexit "backstop" last week.

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However flabbily drafted the clause may be, defeat for the government would send a strong signal that Parliament doesn't back the negotiating goals May is pursuing.

"It's not practical, it's not desirable and it's not appropriate", Davis said.

It was defeated in the House of Commons by 327 votes to 126. The government says leaving the customs union will free the country to strike trade deals around the world.

Senior pro-EU Conservative lawmaker Dominic Grieve proposed his own competing amendment which could force ministers to hand over control of its Brexit strategy to parliament if there is no deal by mid-February.

Other flashpoints in the parliamentary votes include proposals to keep Britain tightly aligned with the EU's economy.

An agreement that defused a potential rebellion over handing parliament more control over Britain's exit from the European Union looked in danger of unravelling on Wednesday, when the two camps argued over the shape of a possible compromise on a "meaningful vote".

However, May made a last minute offer to enter talks about accepting the bulk of an alternative rebel amendment which would give MPs more limited powers to prevent Britain from crashing out of the European Union without a deal.

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It came after Jeremy Corbyn suffered a major rebellion, with six members of his shadow team among more than a third of Labour MPs who voted against the whip over the Brexit Bill.

A paper laying out the U.K. government position, due to be published this month, has been delayed because the Cabinet can not agree on a united stance.

Here's a look at which amendments matter most for the direction of Brexit.

Mrs May appeared to have defused a potentially explosive row over the EU customs union as Tory pro-Europe rebels and Brexiteers came together to table a compromise amendment. The Daily Express thundered: "Ignore the will of the people at your peril".

Nick Ferrari told a Conservative "rebel" that her job is to get on with delivering the Brexit at the people voted for.

The front pages of Leave-backing British newspapers said accepting the amendments would betray the 52 percent who backed Brexit in the seismic 2016 referendum. "It is clear we don't just want to have a chat but a proper discussion and negotiation".

In a full statement later posted on his website, Lee said his resignation was a protest against the government's attempts to limit the role of MPs in shaping what sort of Brexit Britain will have.

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Tory minister criticised for