After compromise, May set to avoid parliament defeat on customs

Britain's Secretary of State for Education Minister for Women and Equalities Nicky Morgan

This was enough to convince Tory rebels not to vote against the government, but senior backbenchers have threatened insurrection if Theresa May doesn't make good on that promise to revisit part C of the Grieve amendment. The prime minister still has time to come up with a form of words acceptable to both sides, but the expectations of the anti-Brexit rebels have been raised significantly.

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

The Lords amendment overturned on Tuesday would have given parliament the power to decide whether to leave the European Union if no deal is reached, keep negotiating - or stay in the bloc.

Passions ran high in Tuesday's three-hour debate, when angry eurosceptics accused their rivals of trying to undermine the 2016 referendum vote to leave the EU. Although, as things stand, they will not be able to send the government back into negotiations if they reject an agreement with the EU.

But in extraordinary scenes, ministers were forced to offer last-minute compromises to pro-European MPs before holding private talks in corners of the chamber as the debate raged on. Anti-Brexit MPs had argued that removing the no-deal effect was necessary for the vote to be a meaningful one.

Flint said she could not support EEA membership because it would mean there would be no restriction on free movement.

You might never have heard of him, but Phillip Lee, a minister, has just resigned from his job in government in public over what he described as the government's "detrimental" Brexit policy.

"We are asking members of parliament to abide by the referendum result, our manifesto commitment and to back our country", Andrew Bridgen, Conservative lawmaker and Brexit campaigner, told Reuters.


There was little doubt the government would win on the customs union and single market, which some pro-EU lawmakers say is the only way for Britain to retain economically advantageous close ties with the bloc, with the opposition Labour Party also divided over future relations.

Labour's divisions were laid bare when Jeremy Corbyn was hit by six frontbench resignations and 89 MPs defied him in a key Brexit vote.

She has previously spoken of the threats she faced for challenging the government, and revealed that one colleague would not be voting as they wished this week for fear of reprisals.

But one minister told the BBC he would commit only to "further discussions".

May, who leads a minority government propped up by the small Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), conceded that "we need parliamentary support" to implement Brexit.

British Prime Minister Theresa May avoided a major blow to her Brexit strategy on Tuesday after lawmakers rejected a plan that would have given parliament a veto on the final deal negotiated with Brussels.

May urged Conservative lawmakers to back the government and show "that we are united as a party in our determination to deliver on the decision made by the British people".

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