Published: Thu, July 19, 2018
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

Under-pressure May bids to rally MPs after knife-edge vote

Under-pressure May bids to rally MPs after knife-edge vote

Theresa May faced pressure over her Brexit plans from both sides of the Commons during a noisy final prime minister's questions of the summer, in which she also clashed with Jeremy Corbyn on the investigation into the Vote Leave campaign.

The third reading of the government's Trade Bill was passed comfortably by 317 votes to 286, with peers now set to scrutinise the legislation.

"We'll be in a much better place to deal with any shock that may arise and an obvious place to which that shock could arise would be a disorderly Brexit".

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

"Brexit continues to mean Brexit", May said to cheers from her Conservative supporters. It was not the plan agreed by the government earlier this month at May's country retreat at Chequers, he said.

"It's a total and complete mess": Former prime minister Tony Blair does not hold back when asked in an interview with AFP what he makes of the British government's approach to Brexit.

May said talks had already started with Brussels based on the proposal, which was set down in a policy document last week, and referred to as "Chequers" for the prime minister's country residence where its terms were thrashed out.

The others require the United Kingdom to have a separate Value-Added Tax regime from the EU and force the Prime Minister to table primary legislation if she wishes to keep Britain in the customs union.

May would face a leadership challenge if 15 percent of the members of parliament from her Conservative Party wrote letters calling for one.

The government lost 12 of its own Conservative votes, but four Labour rebels lend their support; Labour supports the idea of a Customs Union with the EU.

In a sign of Conservative lawmakers falling into line, one of them, Simon Clarke, told the party meeting that he had submitted such a letter but was now withdrawing it for the sake of party unity.

Ms Greening, who grew up in Rotherham, where 68% people voted to leave the European Union, said the parliamentary stalemate "risks a no-confidence vote and, worse, a Corbyn government, which would be disastrous for the economy".

May's minority government means that she has a razor-thin majority in parliament - a split that is even more pronounced on Brexit, given the number of Conservative members of parliament who strongly favor a closer relationship with the European Union than the prime minister is now pursuing.

Their significance was highlighted in a surprise defeat for the government on only their second piece of Brexit legislation, with MPs voting 305 to 301 on a rebel amendment that would lead to the United Kingdom remaining under European Union medicines regulation. Government whips overcame the rebellion by a dozen Tory lawmakers - reportedly issuing last-ditch threats it would prompt a no-confidence vote in the prime minister - and scraped through by six votes.

After two years of wrangling with her Conservative party, May finally presented her plan this month for economic ties with the European Union after Brexit, sparking outrage among hardliners in the party for giving too much away to the EU.

"But, what was said time and time again was "we can do this in a dignified way, we really don't like the blue-on-blue attacks and that has to stop" and I think everyone got the message there". Johnson suggested it was a vision May herself had shared before the "fog of self-doubt had descended".

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