United Kingdom justice minister resigns ahead of key Brexit debate

Ajustar Comentario Impresión

British Prime Minister Theresa May faces a showdown in parliament with lawmakers later on Tuesday who want a "meaningful vote" on an eventual Brexit deal and to set the government's "direction" if the house rejects the agreement.

Theresa May avoided defeats on key pillars of her Brexit policy after a majority of MPs voted with the United Kingdom government to defeat a number of amendments on Wednesday evening.

The British government faced more bruising debate on its key Brexit bill on Wednesday (Thursday NZ Time), after being forced to give ground to pro-EU lawmakers to avoid defeat.

The EU (Withdrawal) Bill would formally end Britain's membership of the bloc and transfer more than 40 years of European law onto the British statute books.

But Brexit campaigners feared it could weaken Britain's negotiating stance in talks to leave the EU. David Davis, the Brexit secretary, was reportedly close to resigning over the issue last weekend.

The Lords amendment would have given parliament the power to decide what happened next, with the possibility of reopening negotiations or staying in the bloc. "It's not practical, it's not desirable and it's not appropriate", Davis said.

Ms Allen insisted that the referendum was a binary vote and it didn't say that MPs should neglect their duty, but Nick hit back: "Your duty, some would argue, is to deliver Brexit, which is what the people have told you to do".

In a highly charged atmosphere in parliament, lawmakers who oppose the government said they had received death threats and brandished a copy of the Daily Express newspaper, which ran a headline saying: "Ignore the will of the people at your peril".

The government would not have sought a deal if it thought it had the votes to win, and they clearly blinked.

The fall-out from Britain's referendum vote in 2016 to leave the European Union has reshaped politics, deepening divisions within its main parties and raising tensions between its four nations - England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The Commons is now debating whether to accept any of the 15 changes made by the Lords against the government's wishes. The Sun reports that Brexiteers are not allowing any more Government amendments.

This was enough to convince Tory rebels not to vote against the government, but senior backbenchers have threatened insurrection if Theresa May doesn't make good on that promise to revisit part C of the Grieve amendment.

Earlier, May appeared to have also stemmed a rebellion over her commitment to leaving the EU's customs union which will transform Britain's trading relationships for decades to come.

Leave.EU founder Mr Banks said it used alternative methods to influence the Brexit vote, as he and its communications chief were grilled by MPs over the conduct of their campaign in 2016. Her spokesman told reporters that the government would have to present it on Thursday. May's Cabinet is divided between ministers including Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, who support a clean break with the European Union, and those such as Treasury chief Philip Hammond who want to keep closely aligned to the bloc, Britain's biggest trading partner.

Parliamentary debates about complex legal amendments rarely rose much heat, but passions run high over anything to do with Brexit.

Pro-Brexit lawmakers worry Parliament could use that power to delay Britain's departure, or stop it altogether.

Parliament will vote Tuesday on a key piece of legislation, the E.U. Withdrawal bill, that would transfer European Union laws now on British books into British law after Brexit.