Published: Tue, June 12, 2018
Global | By Shelia Dennis

Theresa May's day of Brexit reckoning is coming, sooner or later


Justice minister Dr Phillip Lee MP quit the government today to allow him to campaign for MPs to be allowed a vote on the European Union withdrawal deal.

In a statement, Lee said: "I will miss the Ministry of Justice and the enormous privilege of guiding our government's work to turn around the lives of vulnerable young offenders and female offenders; to mobilise the remarkable power of sport to transform lives and cut crime; and to improve how we deal with offenders" health and mental health which drives so much human behaviour.

In the months that followed, May struggled to assert her authority over her party and government, with a string of ministers resigning from the Cabinet and disunity over Brexit among those who remained around her top table.

Hours before the debate started, a justice minister who has always been critical of the handling of Brexit, resigned in protest at what he called the government's "wish to limit" the role of lawmakers in shaping Brexit and said he would vote against the prime minister.

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Prime Minister Theresa May has appealed to Tory rebels not to undermine her negotiating position by backing the amendments.

Speaking to a packed meeting of Tory MPs - including Chancellor Philip Hammond, Brexit Secretary David Davis and Environment Secretary Michael Gove - May said: "We must think about the message Parliament will send to the European Union this week".

There are two amendments that could prove particularly tough for the government to overturn.

The MP says he will back a knife edge vote created to give parliament the power to vote down May's Brexit deal.

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MPs will spend a total of 12 hours debating and voting on 14 Lords amendments to the EU Withdrawal Bill - six hours on Tuesday and six hours on Wednesday.

"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.

The current "meaningful vote" offered by the Government allows MPs to accept or reject the Brexit deal, but the proposed change would see MPs take control of the negotiation aims.

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