Sadiq calls on MPs to vote for Brexit amendments as Theresa May scrambles to avoid defeat
The London mayor has put out a statement urging MPs ‘of all political persuasions’ to reject the Government’s Brexit proposals, as the government has pledged to drop its opposition to a ‘customs arrangement’ with Brussels following late night negotiations with Tory rebels. It's unclear whether rebels will fall into line on the other amendments.
In a statement, Sadiq Khan today said:
“Today is a day for MPs of all political persuasions to stand up and be counted on behalf of their constituents and reject the Government’s reckless Brexit proposals which will cost jobs, reduce investment and damage the UK’s position in the world.
“These votes will have an impact on the UK for generations to come – so MPs must have the courage of their convictions and do the right thing by forcing the Government to secure a solution that preserves our prosperity.
“History will judge our Parliamentarians on how they vote today. Now is the time for them to tell the Government that their shambolic approach to Brexit is not in the country’s best interests.
“It is time for the Government to step back from the Hard Brexit precipice – and negotiate a deal that works for the country, with membership of Europe’s Single Market and Customs Union at its heart.”
The statement hit the headlines after the PM met with prominent pro-Remain backbenchers at the Tory’s 1922 committee, at which they reportedly came to a deal over the Lord’s customs union proposal, which would see Tory Remainers back the government, in exchange for the government pledging to reach a “customs arrangement” with the European Union.
After the meeting, Brexit minister Steve Baker told the press that: “The Government will look very carefully at what they’ve tabled and we will take a decision on whether or not we will support it in the usual way. Our policy is to leave the customs union so we can have our own independent trade policy, but it would be appropriate that we have an arrangement in place with the European union."
The deal leaves other members of the cross-party group of MPs—including prominent ‘moderate’ Labour backbenchers—who supported remaining in the European Economic Area exposed, as there is now no chance of any parliamentary majority for joining in the EEA if the Conservative Remainers have folded.
However, the government may still be defeated on the Lords amendment which would give Parliament the right to a ‘meaningful’ vote over the final Brexit deal.
As it stands, Parliament can reject any deal the government comes to with the European Union, however the Tory sources have warned this scenario could lead an ‘apocalyptic’ no-deal outcome.
The proposed amendment would give parliament the power to force the UK government back to the negotiating table if the deal doesn’t reflect the will of the Commons.