'They're desperate!' SNP spokesperson launches FURIOUS attack on Government over Brexit

15 November, 2017, 17:07 | Author: Valerie Burke
  • GETTYAnna Soubry is among the growing number of Tory rebels who could derail Theresa May's Brexit plans

PRIME MINISTER Theresa May began a major parliamentary battle over Brexit on Tuesday (14), facing competing demands by MPs to change her strategy as tensions rise in the government.

MPs, including from the Conservative party, have tabled 188 pages of amendments to the bill, which will be debated in groups over eight days spread over the coming weeks.

But May s government, rocked by a string of scandals that forced out two ministers this month and divided by Brexit, faces potential defeats on other amendments ahead.

Veteran MP Clarke labelled the amendment to make the day the United Kingdom leaves the European Union binding, making sure that Brexit happens at 11pm on 29 March 2019 "utterly foolish" and "silly".

Tory rebels have indicated they will vote against the government's plan to enshrine the UK's exit date in law, which could cause the amendment to be defeated.

15 Conservative MPs who plan to vote against the government on an amendment to the withdrawal bill have been labelled "mutineers".

In a weird twist, opposition Labour MP Frank Field proposed his own rival amendment to set the departure point one hour later at the start of March 30, 2019, but later withdraw it amid a lack of support.

Former finance minister Ken Clarke, a committed pro-European, said it would be "utterly foolish" not to leave this option open, however unlikely many commentators view it.

He said: "The government's amendments to their own Bill would stand in the way of an orderly transition and increase the chance of Britain crashing out of Europe without an agreement".

Ken Clarke
GETTYKen Clarke is another Tory rebel who featured on the controversial front page

The Scottish and Wales regional governments worry that the Brexit law will undermine their powers.

Brexit minister Steve Baker, one of the highest profile Eurosceptic MPs, condemned the Telegraph's front page.

A vote on that amendment was expected late Tuesday.

The showdown comes as the prime minister, who lost her parliamentary majority following the June election, struggles to assert her authority even over her own cabinet.

Other Tory MPs Antoinette Sandbach and Ms Allen said another Government concession, allowing the final Brexit deal to be enshrined in a piece of legislation, would be made meaningless by fixing a Brexit date because there would likely not be enough time to pass it before the date elapses.

Two Cabinet members quit in the past fortnight - defence secretary Sir Michael Fallon and global development secretary Priti Patel - while two others stand accused of instructing May how to run Brexit.

She is also under increasing pressure from Brussels to come up with a financial offer to keep negotiations on track, with a crunch summit of European Union leaders looming in mid-December.

"We want a good Brexit not a Hard ideologically driven Brexit #standupfordemocracy".

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