Last night four amendments put forward by Jacob Rees-Mogg’s European Research Group passed, steering Mrs May’s soft Brexit blueprint in a harder direction, but today pro-EU Tory amendments will get their revenge with votes on the Trade Bill.
Tory MPs Stephen Hammond and Nicky Morgan put forward a new amendment to the current Trade Bill that would force the Government to stay in the customs union if Brussels cannot be persuaded to allow Britain a free trade area by January 2019.
Last night Brexiteers narrowly defeated Tory rebels by just three votes on two amendments.
One goes back on Theresa May’s white paper suggestion to collect tariffs on behalf of the EU. The amendment means this will only happen if the EU agrees to reciprocate – resulting in 14 Tories rebelling.
Another amendment, ensuring the UK is out of the EU’s VAT regime, barely passed by three votes and a Tory rebellion of 11.
The entire bill was approved by the House of Commons 318 to 285.
As a result of last night’s battle Defence minister Guto Bebb resigned after voting against the Government.
Voting on the Trade Bill begins mid-afternoon and the customs union vote will take place this evening about 6pm.
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Remainics were prepared to stand down 9:16am
Pro-Europe Tory rebel Heidi Allen suggested she and the Remain camp were read to drop their own amendments to the Chequers deal before the “extreme last-minute manoevres” by the European Research Group.
She told Today: “What was agreed at Chequers wasn’t perfect to us, wasn’t perfect to Leavers either, but the PM has worked exceptionally hard to find a decent first pitch to put the EU and to move forward from that.
“We were all set to drop all our amendments and back it and then suddenly we had these rather extreme last-minute manoeuvres from the ERG which seemed to us to deviate the Prime Minister from her plan and we weren’t prepared to let them do that – or at least try.”
No second referendum 8:52am
Mr Fox responds to called for a second referendum by saying: “What if we have a referendum and it goes the other way? Do we have best of three?”
He also defended the move to cut the parliamentary session short.
He said: “Well, of course, you have to draw the distinction between parliament and government, because government doesn’t stop over the recess.”
Early morning reassurances 8:37am
International Trade Secretary Liam Fox insisted the Chequers Cabinet compromise on Brexit is not dead.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “The wording of the amendment yesterday was very close to the wording in the Government’s White Paper.
“It looked in fact as a bit of a cut and paste from the White Paper.”
Mr Fox said he wants a “people’s Brexit”.
He added: “We can’t please everybody.
“We have to have a compromise position that enables the country to get an agreement with the European Union.
“Here in Britain there is far too much negative, self-doubting pessimism in this process.”