Published: Wed, June 13, 2018
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Has Theresa May only delayed her Brexit defeat by a few days?

Theresa May has averted an embarrassing defeat over the government's EU Withdrawal Bill by giving MPs a say on the next steps for Brexit if she fails to secure a withdrawal agreement by the end of November.

Former attorney general Dominic Grieve had tabled an amendment to the EU Withdrawal Bill to beef up a "meaningful vote" for MPs on the final Brexit deal.

There is a gap between what the Tory Remainer rebels think the prime minister promised them and what the Brexit Secretary David Davis thinks has been promised.

Davis agreed to remain in place after receiving a guarantee the arrangement would last just a year and held a short meeting with EU Brexit chief Michel Barnier in Brussels today. Anti-Brexit MPs had argued that removing the no-deal outcome was necessary for the vote to be a meaningful one. "Further amendments to the Brexit bill will be discussed today; but even after that I still do not see a clear path that will satisfy both sides of the party, the Brexiteers and the Remainers, sufficiently so as not to topple the government and that will also seem acceptable to the European Union", says Esther Maria Reichelt, an analyst at Commerzbank.

"The only answer to no hard border in Northern Ireland in the end is a customs union and high levels of market alignment, the fact that was accepted by the Government and turned into domestic law gives it a status it didn't have until yesterday".

The government will face an nearly certain defeat if it now reneges on a promise to give MPs more of a say over the final Brexit deal.

They said: "We have not, and will not, agree to the House of Commons binding the government's hands in the negotiations". Wollaston tweeted: "Following further assurances that further govt amendments will come forward in the Lords, I will now be supporting the govt". And if there is still no agreement before February 15 parliament would vote on whether to take over the Brexit process.

Brexiteers were dejected by the turn of events, but are pinning their immediate hopes on the detail in the government's compromise.

British Prime Minister Theresa May faces another day of Brexit compromise at Westminster.

"So effectively we are going to reproduce the customs union and the single market and the Government will not be able to comply with Tuesday's legal obligation unless it does so". Yes, it's a significant compromise but we live to fight another day.

This interpretation was also endorsed by Labour's Shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer.

- PM avoids damaging "meaningful vote" defeat through new concessions. "We will wait and see the details of this concession and will hold ministers to account to ensure it lives up to the promises they have made to parliament".

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