United Kingdom justice minister resigns over Brexit ahead of key votes


Pro-Brexit Conservative lawmaker Edward Leigh slammed pro-EU colleagues, saying Parliament must respect the result of the June 2016 voter referendum.

"The people want us to leave the EU".

A third part of Grieve's amendment, which the government has not agreed to discuss and is likely to resist, would hand control of the Brexit negotiations to parliament if an exit deal has not been agreed by February 15 next year. Just hours earlier, Downing Street had signalled the prime minister had no intention of accepting Grieve's compromise amendment to the European Union withdrawal bill, tabled by the former attorney general and aimed at ensuring ministers can't "crash out of the European Union by ministerial fiat", as he called it. "I trust our PM to honour the undertaking she gave". They stood down after the government promised to engage in talks on a compromise.

Asked on BBC Radio 4's Today programme what would happen under Government plans if MPs voted against the deal eventually secured by Mrs May, Mr Davis said: "If they throw it out, well, they throw it out".

"If it were to turn out there was a problem, we will deal with it".

Brexit Secretary David Davis, who reportedly has clashed with May, has warned Conservative Party rebels that proposals to give Parliament the power to direct negotiations with the European Union are simply a tactic to overturn the results of the 2016 referendum that mandated Britain's departure from the bloc.

"What it does is put in place a structure if things do go as planned", she said.

That came after the embarrassing spectacle of government minister Robert Buckland effectively negotiating with Grieve, through a series of interventions in the rebel backbencher's speech, in what Anna Soubry called "a peculiar sort of horse-trading" - and then literally negotiating with him, in whispered exchanges, as the debate went on around them.

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What do the newspapers say about the votes?

The Lords themselves would get chance to consider a motion, but that wouldn't mean a binding "yes" or "no" vote for them. "It was the prime minister who I sat in front of this afternoon and who gave us those assurances".

Grieve proposed the government be forced to seek parliamentary approval for its strategy if it has not agreed a Brexit deal by the end of November.

"But I have to say to him, I don't know if members of the House are aware of the headline acts at Labour Live?"

He rejected suggestions ministers were already backtracking on promises made to MPs, insisting he did not want to raise any "false expectations".

Prior to the votes, the government suffered its first ministerial resignation over Brexit as Phillip Lee quit the Ministry of Justice so he could speak out freely.

The prime minister is facing two days of crunch votes as parliamentarians in the Commons, are being asked to reject or approve a series of amendments made to the European Union withdrawal bill by the upper chamber, the Lords.

Talks with Brussels have stalled over the fraught issue of the Irish border, but both sides are hoping to agree a final deal by October in time for the break on March 29, 2019.

Minutes before voting began, the United Kingdom prime minister held last-ditch talks with around 15 Tory rebels, at which she is believed to have offered personal assurances that she would agree to the broad thrust of their proposals.