Tory rebels preparing to vote down ‘valueless amendment’
The leader of the pro-EU Tory rebels Dominic Grieves called May’s change of heart “unacceptable”, after she promised to change the government position to stave off a rebellion.
Theresa May offered the MPs a meaningful vote, and promised to back it with a government amendment. But whne the amendment was actually presented to the commons, it gave MPs only an advisory role, and did not in May’s words ‘tie the hands of the government.'
The manner in which the pro-EU Tory MPs folded following May’s promises was widely criticised, but observers hope that following this betrayal their resolve will have been stiffened.
Commenting on the Government amendment, Grieve said:
"At the end of the process something was inexplicably changed, which had not been agreed. The government has made the motion unamendable, contrary to the usual methods of the House of Commons and therefore it cannot be accepted.”
Grieves’ amendment would have given the government until the 30th of November to agree a deal, and allowed MPs to dictate the government's negotiating strategy if there were no deal by the 15th of February.
Fellow rebel Tory MP, Anna Soubry described May’s climbdown as a "big mistake by the prime minister" commenting: "Unfortunately it looks like she's yet again caved into the hard Brexiteers.”
If the amendment is again passed in the Lords (as seems likely), it would go before the House of Commons again next Wednesday, in a vote Theresa May will be hard pressed to win a second time.
Labour’s Shadow Brexit Secretary, Keir Starmer said:“ The Government’s amendment is simply not good enough. Theresa May has gone back on her word and offered an amendment that takes the meaning out of the meaningful vote. “
“Parliament cannot – and should not – accept it.”