London: Theresa May has been humiliated after suffering three separate Brexit defeats in the House of Commons – including a damning amendment tabled by rebel Dominic Grieve which all but rules out a no-deal exit.
By 321 votes to 299 the Government was defeated on the vote over Mr Grieve’s amendment, which will allow MPs to vote on amendments to the EU exit deal if it is defeated in next week’s meaningful vote. Mrs May’s Government had already been defeated in two shock votes in the House of Commons on Tuesday evening as an ongoing contempt row threatens to derail the start of five days of Brexit debate. Mr Grieve’s victory will allow the final Brexit deal to be repeatedly amended – ending Mrs May’s threats of her Brexit deal or no deal.
If Prime Minister Theresa May loses the crunch Brexit vote next Tuesday, the Government has 21 days to come back to the Commons to outline what happens next.
Rather than just note what the Government says, Mr Grieve wanted MPs to be able to make amendments to the statement in order to try and influence events.
Mr Grieve’s amendment impacts Section 13.1 (b) of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018.
This currently reads: “The negotiated withdrawal agreement and the framework for the future relationship have been approved by a resolution of the House of Commons on a motion moved by a Minister of the Crown.”
Mr Grieve’s move now poses a fresh headache for the Government over its Brexit agenda.
Mr Grieve’s amendment was backed by a number of Tory MPs including Sir Oliver Letwin, Ken Clarke and Anna Soubry.
Speaking before the vote, Tory former attorney general Dominic Grieve said: “But the reality remains that we have an unsatisfactory procedure to resolve differences of opinion in this House, if and obviously it’s an if, we come to a point where the Government does not succeed on its motion and the opportunity exists this afternoon to cure that anomaly.”
However, prominent Brexiteer Steve Baker said that any such future amendments would not be binding.
Regarding the move by Mr Grieve, Mr Baker tweeted: “If passed allows for an amendable motion 21 days after a Government defeat of their dreadful deal.
“Whatever the outcome of the amendment, it is not legally binding on the PM.
“Acts are law, motions are motions. The executive still decides how to proceed.”
Commons leader Andrea Leadsom had urged Mr Grieve to abandon his bid to give MPs a greater role in shaping Brexit should the Government’s deal be defeated next week.