Brexit ‘meaningful vote’: May wins after rebels accept compromise


The attempt to secure a “meaningful vote” that could have potentially given MPs the power to stop Britain leaving the EU without a deal has been defeated. The final obstacle to the EU withdrawal bill was removed as MPs voted 303 to 319 against an amendment tabled by the former attorney general Dominic Grieve – before he accepted government reassurances about its respect for the power of MPs to hold it to account.
At least six Tory rebels – Ken Clarke, Sarah Wollaston, Anna Soubry, Heidi Allen, Antoinette Sandbach and Philip Lee, who resigned last week to vote against the government – held out against the compromise that Labour MPs dismissed as meaningless. Grieve was accused by one angry Labour backbencher of behaving like the Grand old Duke of York. “You can’t keep marching the troops up the hill and down again and keep your integrity,” George Howarth said.

The bill will return to the Lords later on Wednesday and is expected to be on the statute book within days. After the vote, Grieve said: “We’ve managed to reach a compromise without breaking the government – and I think some people don’t realise we were getting quite close to that. I completely respect the view of my colleagues who disagree, but if we can compromise we can achieve more.” Amid a welter of procedural technicalities about the powers of MPs and the potential role of the judges, Grieve – who had said he woke up in the small hours worrying that his actions would cause the government’s collapse – withdrew his support for his own amendment.(theguardian)…[+]