Theresa May loses three ministers as MPs take control of Brexit process | Politics News

Theresa May has lost three ministers and control of the Brexit process to the House of Commons in further blows to her authority.

Richard Harrington quit his position as business minister just moments before he voted against the government, siding with an amendment which will allow MPs to debate alternative Brexit plans on Wednesday.

He was joined by Steve Brine and Alistair Burt – who was by Mrs May’s side at Chequers just a day before.

The amendment, tabled by Sir Oliver Letwin, means MPs will control the agenda in the House of Commons, not the government, and they will use that time to vote on seven alternatives to the Brexit deal struck by Mrs May.

The move is seen as having the potential to pave the way to a soft Brexit that would keep the UK closer to the EU.









Theresa May suffers another Brexit defeat as MPs vote to take control of process by backing indicative votes with a majority of 27.

The Commons voted by 329 to 302 – a majority of 27 – despite MPs being told they would be given time by the government to hold the same debates.

Members raised concerns that the Prime Minister would still remain in charge of the order papers for the day.

Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay
Image:
Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay

Jeremy Corbyn, who withdrew his own amendment calling for time to debate the alternatives, congratulated the House on passing the second and called the government’s Brexit process an “abject failure”.

He added: “We do not know what the House will decide on Wednesday. But I know there are many members of this House who have been working for alternative solutions, and we must debate those to find a consensus.”

The department for exiting the EU said the amendment set a “dangerous, unpredictable precedent” for the future.

A spokesman added: “It is disappointing to see this amendment pass, as the Government made a clear commitment to provide a process to find a majority in Parliament for a way forward this week.

“This amendment instead upends the balance between our democratic institutions and sets a dangerous, unpredictable precedent for the future.”



Labour MP Chris Leslie called out Theresa May for being on her phone while he asked her a question.







MP Chris Leslie of The Independent Group called out Theresa May for being on her phone while he asked her a question.

It warned MPs that if a longer extension is required it would mean the UK will have to hold elections for members of the European Parliament.

The news was welcomed by Guy Verhofstadt, the European Parliament’s Brexit coordinator, who said: “Parliament takes control. An opportunity to build a cross-party cooperation leading to an enhanced political declaration & a closer future relationship!”

The votes came after Mrs May admitted there was still not enough support for her deal, and therefore for a third meaningful vote in the Commons.

Arlene Foster, leader of the DUP, earlier confirmed their position on the deal had not changed, and they would not be offering the government support.

In her statement to MPs earlier in the day, Mrs May suggested the continuing absence of approval for her deal would see a “slow Brexit” that “gives up control of any of our borders, laws, money or trade”.

The prime minister also said a no-deal Brexit would not happen without MPs’ approval, declaring: “No Brexit must not happen.” The Commons has previously voted against such an outcome.

She rejected the idea of MPs taking control of the House on Wednesday and warned MPs she “cannot commit” to delivering an alternative Brexit outcome that the Commons supported.

“The UK is only one half of the equation and the votes could lead to an outcome that is unnegotiable with the EU,” she said.

Theresa May leaving Number 10 to vote in the Commons
Image:
Theresa May leaving Number 10 to vote in the Commons

Tabling his amendment, and addressing the strange scenario of the government failing to back it but appearing to propose the same option, Sir Oliver said: “It is not some kind of constitutional revolution.

“It is an opportunity for the House of Commons to begin, and I want to stress the word begin, the process of working its way towards identifying a way forward that can command a majority in this house.”

In his resignation letter, Mr Harrington said the government was “playing roulette with the lives and livelihoods of the vast majority of people in this country”.

He said he would resign in order to do all he could to ensure no-deal Brexit does not happen.

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