Tory rebellions against May's Brexit plans 'could bring down government'

How Theresa May claimed her Brexit majority in the Lords' Amendments

How Theresa May claimed her Brexit majority in the Lords' Amendments

After two days of talks last week, Mr Grieve said a government amendment drawn up to avert a rebellion was changed at the last minute and that he and his colleagues would not back down.

Theresa May's flagship Brexit legislation has once more been thrown into doubt, after a compromise created to keep Tory backbenchers on board was branded "unacceptable" by leading rebels.

On Tuesday, the Prime Minister only just managed to persuade potential rebels to back down minutes before the crunch vote to an amendment scheduled by pro-EU Tory ringleader Dominic Grieve - demanding measures be put in place to avoid the United Kingdom leaving with "no deal".

Mr Grieve had originally wanted the amendment to say that the government must seek the approval of Parliament for its course of action - and that ministers must be directed by MPs and peers.

Theresa May told BBC One's The Andrew Marr Show that 'Parliament can not tie the hands of government in negotiations'.

The government's new amendment to the European Union withdrawal bill is likely to be rejected by the House of Lords, meaning a major Commons showdown is on the cards.

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That would tee up a showdown when the legislation returns to the lower House of Commons for a vote on Wednesday.

Instead, MPs would be allowed to vote only on a "neutral" motion, confirming that they have considered a statement by a minister on the issue. "I hope they listen to me when I say I don't understand why you've done this last-minute switch", he added.

Ministers have so far agreed to give parliament a symbolic vote on the government's strategy if its initial exit deal is rejected, but not to give parliament the power to force changes to its plan.

Tory MP Sarah Wollaston, who had planned to rebel on Tuesday but was bought off by the Prime Minister, took to Twitter to express her disappointment.

Lord Newby went on: "Parliament must be given a meaningful vote on all possible outcomes of Brexit and this must be guaranteed in writing in the Withdrawal Bill".

In an interview broadcast on Sunday, Lee said he planned to back Grieve's amendment, and indicated that other ministers could be prepared to follow his example. "Grateful for the conversations but without consultation what was agreed earlier today has been changed".

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The latest internal dispute concerns the role of the UK Parliament in the event that the government's negotiations with Brussels produce no agreement, shortly before the country is due to leave the European Union in March next year.

The former attorney general said it was important for MPs to have a real say on a Brexit deal.

She said that in the week beginning Jul 9 the government would set out in more detail than ever before its ambition for future relations with the EU.

Mr Grieve told the BBC: "We could collapse the Government, and I can assure you that I wake up at 2am in a cold sweat thinking about the problems that we have put on our shoulders".

"This meaningful vote must be comprehensive and offer the possibility of MPs putting the deal to the people".

"The Prime Minister should be left in no doubt; any attempt to water down her promise to give Parliament a "meaningful vote" will end with MPs forcing a defeat on her".

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"The Government's amendment is simply not good enough", the Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer said.

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