Brexit: Justice minister Phillip Lee resigns ahead of key debate

Brexit: Justice minister Phillip Lee resigns ahead of key debate

On Tuesday, the Government avoided a potentially devastating defeat over the EU Withdrawal Bill, which would have otherwise seen unprecedented powers handed to MPs to reject the agreement reached with Brussels and to dictate the Prime Minister's next steps.

As Tory rebels threatened to defy the whip and back the Lords' amendment, . Although, as things stand, they will not be able to send the government back into negotiations if they reject an agreement with the EU.

May's government is divided between Brexit-backing ministers such as 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.

But that vote required last-minute concessions to pro-European Tories, and they warned Wednesday they could yet seek to defeat the government if May fails to fulfil her promises.

The amendment, which would push the government towards adopting a Norway-style deal with Brussels, was voted down by 327 votes to 126, a majority of 201.

His resignation letter said that had wanted the United Kingdom to have as frictionless a deal as possible with the European Union.

An issue paper published last week by the United Kingdom government which proposed keeping the whole of the United Kingdom - and not just Northern Ireland - in line with European Union regulations until a permanent future relationship can be negotiated, which it proposed would be 2021.

Dr Lee said his main objection to Government policy was over the "wish to limit Parliament's role in contributing to the final outcome" and signalled he would rebel on the issue in the Commons later.

A section of Labour MPs are expected to defy the official party position and vote in favor of a Lords amendment to keep the United Kingdom in a Norway-style trading arrangement, better known as the European Economic Area (EEA), post-Brexit. Given that after November 30, the House of Commons looks set to be empowered in the negotiations, it would not be in Barnier's interest to negotiate a harder form of Brexit before the U.K.'s self-imposed deadline.

"We are asking members of parliament to abide by the referendum result, our manifesto commitment and to back our country", Andrew Bridgen, Conservative lawmaker and Brexit campaigner, told Reuters.

Lee's resignation came as May's fragile minority government scrambled to shore up support among lawmakers for two days of high-stakes debate and votes on its flagship Brexit bill in the House of Commons.

But government officials admitted that the concession does constrain their freedom in the Brexit talks. He said he would vote against the prime minister.

One government official said: "It's not over yet".

"We are trying to construct at the moment a traditional British compromise and we are trying to drag as many with us as possible both in government and elsewhere around some key elements of that compromise". "There could be a confidence motion [in the prime minister] or an early general election".

Also on Tuesday, the government successfully overturned an attempt to remove the date of Brexit from the face of the bill.

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