Government compromise on 'meaningful vote' avoids Brexit defeat

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Remain-supporting Conservative MPs had threatened to defeat the government on an amendment known as the "meaningful vote" amendment, which would have given Parliament a wide-ranging veto to May's Brexit deal, or even bring about another referendum on whether Britain should leave the EU.

On June 13, one amendment on joining the European Economic Area - the single market - will likely fall because the main opposition Labour Party is against it.

The concession seems to be a victory for the Remain camp and last night Tory Brexiteers were concerned the climbdown could damage the prime minister's ability to walk away from the negotiations if the European Union offer was not good enough. Grieve, a Remainer, endeavored to give parliament a meaningful say should a "no deal" Brexit become a prospect, reports The Guardian.

Some 74 Labour MPs, including Remainers Jess Phillips, Stella Creasy and Hilary Benn, rebelled against Corbyn to vote against the amendment to the EU (Withdrawal Bill).

But that vote required last-minute concessions to pro-European Tories, and they warned Wednesday they could yet seek to defeat the government if May fails to fulfil her promises.

"Where some of its most senior people who hold the greatest offices of state, at every twist and turn, when our Prime Minister moves towards securing a Brexit that will serve everybody in our country, the softest, most sensible Brexit, both publicly and privately they undermine her and scupper her attempts".

MPs voted down the Lords amendment on "sifting regulations" by a majority of 22. But pro-EU Conservative lawmaker Heidi Allen said it was inevitable "we will have to come to a customs union agreement", even if it was given another label.

Another flashpoint could come when lawmakers vote Wednesday on an amendment seeking to keep Britain in a customs union with the EU.

Supporters of this policy argue it would protect British jobs and go some way to preserving the invisible Irish border, while detractors point out it would prevent Britain from signing its own trade deals after it has left the EU.

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This amendment had looked unsafe for the prime minister.

The government said it would produce its revised plan on Thursday.

MPs were told that one parliamentarian had to be accompanied to a public meeting by a six armed police officers because of threats over their stance on Brexit.

In response to the votes, Lib Dem leader Sir Vince Cable accused Labour of conspiring with the Conservatives to "wave through a hard Brexit".

The shadow Brexit secretary Kier Starmer said earlier this week that the party was too divided to pursue the so-called Norway option of EEA membership. It was a measure of the division in the party that out of 257 Labour MPs, 90 ignored that instruction and voted. Single market or EEA membership would also mean a continuation of "freedom of movement".

"That is why Labour governments have always addressed these problems by properly funding the NHS, by having a national minimum wage, investing in our schools and so on".

Corbyn instructed his MPs to abstain on the amendment, meaning they should neither vote for or against it.

Our Brexit Insider Facebook group is the best place for up-to-date news and analysis about Britain's departure from the European Union, direct from Business Insider's political reporters.

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