United Kingdom parliament vote to reveal extent of anger over May's Brexit plan

Marsha Scott
July 17, 2018

"The Bill is an important part of preparing for the world after Brexit and I would have thought that all colleagues would respect the fact that we need to get those preparations in place whilst having this important negotiation to make sure that our trading arrangement can continue to support prosperity in the future".

There will be no second referendum on Brexit, a spokesperson for Theresa May said on Monday, repeating the British prime minister's belief that her plan for leaving the European Union was the only way to get a deal that meets the government's aims.

Former global development secretary Priti Patel, who is proposing one of four amendments to the Taxation (Cross-border Trade) Bill, told BBC Radio 4's Westminster Hour the white paper had "many flaws around our independence and our ability to make free trade agreements".

"I have come to the conclusion that it does not respect the referendum result - it is not what people voted for", he said.

May is now facing a possible rebellion from Brexit supporters in her Conservative Party who want her to ditch her plan when lawmakers vote on amendments to legislation on the government's post-Brexit customs regime on Monday.

It involves removing Mrs May as Prime Minister, replacing her with a Brexiteer and a new election on the promise to leave without a deal - if the European Union refuses to compromise.

"I'm sure Theresa May does not want to split the Conservative Party and therefore she will find that the inevitable effect of the parliamentary arithmetic is that she will need to change it (the Brexit policy) to keep the party united", Rees-Mogg said.

Meanwhile Boris Johnson, in his first public intervention since his resignation last week, appealed for people to take a more positive view of Britain's prospects outside the EU.

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"I say that's not acceptable", she told BBC television.

Business minister Greg Clark urged party members to get behind the prime minister's plan: "When it comes to Parliament, I hope and expect that it will be persuasive that what is on offer will be good for the United Kingdom, it would be good for every part of the U.K".

She acknowledged that some lawmakers had doubts about her plans to stick to a "common rule book" with the bloc for goods and agricultural products in return for free trade, without tariffs or border customs checks, but insisted she couldn't see a viable alternative.

Greening said that with divisions in the Conservatives and the opposition Labour Party over how to proceed with Brexit, there should be another vote, with the public able to choose between May's plans, a "no-deal" break with the European Union or remaining in the bloc. Sources at Best for Britain, which is campaigning for a second referendum, yesterday suggested ten Tory MPs could follow Miss Greening's example.

Some in the pro-EU faction have also rejected the plan.

MP after MP then clashed on the Tory benches during the debate on the Taxation (Cross-Border Trade) Bill.

He described Ms Greening's call for a second referendum as "a little ill-thought out", saying: "If we wanted to extend the uncertainty for another long period this is one way of doing it".

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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