Published: Tue, June 12, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

MoJ loses minister Phillip Lee in Brexit row

MoJ loses minister Phillip Lee in Brexit row

Lee's resignation Tuesday comes ahead of a crucial 48 hours for the government as it battles to hold off a series of potential rebellions to remove 15 amendments laid by peers in the House of Lords created to strengthen parliament's hand in the negotiations.

In a statement on his website, Lee, a former GP, said it seemed inevitable that the "people, economy and culture of my constituency will be affected negatively" by leaving the European Union, and he called on the government to give the country another referendum on the final Brexit deal. May pleaded with MPs, asking them to imagine how weak the government will appear to Brussels bureaucrats if they are defeated on this key piece of Brexit legislation.

Justice Minister Philip Lee resigns and pledges to vote against Theresa May on Brexit.

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

'But the message we send to the country through our votes this week is important.

"But if the Lords amendments are allowed to stand, that negotiating position will be undermined".

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Another would give Parliament the power to approve or deny the Brexit withdrawal agreement and transitional measures, preferably before the European Parliament debates and votes on it.

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.

Speaking to reporters outside the meeting, Solicitor General Robert Buckland confirmed the Government was in discussions with rebels about establishing a fresh amendment committing to seek a customs arrangement - not a union - with the EU.

To try to ensure the government wins, ministers and other lawmakers have been told to make sure they will be in parliament for the votes.

Conservative Remainer MP Sarah Wollaston told BBC Radio 4's Today program that she was "minded" to defy the government on the first of these amendments, which calls for parliament to get a "meaningful vote" on any final deal agreed between the United Kingdom and EU.

Conservative MP Sarah Wollaston said on Monday morning she was "minded" to defy party orders and back the meaningful vote amendment.

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