By 321 votes to 299 the Government was defeated on the vote over Mr Grieve’s amendment, which will allow MPs to vote on amendments to the EU exit deal if it is defeated in next week’s meaningful vote. Mrs May’s Government had already been defeated in two shock votes in the House of Commons this evening as an ongoing contempt row threatens to derail the start of five days of Brexit debate. Mr Grieve’s victory will allow the final Brexit deal to be repeatedly amended – ending Mrs May’s threats of her Brexit deal or no deal.
If Prime Minister Theresa May loses the crunch Brexit vote next Tuesday, the Government has 21 days to come back to the Commons to outline what happens next.
Rather than just note what the Government says, Mr Grieve wanted MPs to be able to make amendments to the statement in order to try and influence events.
Mr Grieve’s amendment impacts Section 13.1 (b) of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018.
This currently reads: “The negotiated withdrawal agreement and the framework for the future relationship have been approved by a resolution of the House of Commons on a motion moved by a Minister of the Crown.”
Mr Grieve’s move now poses a fresh headache for the Government over its Brexit agenda.
Mr Grieve’s amendment was backed by a number of Tory MPs including Sir Oliver Letwin, Ken Clarke and Anna Soubry.
Speaking before the vote, Tory former attorney general Dominic Grieve said: “But the reality remains that we have an unsatisfactory procedure to resolve differences of opinion in this House, if and obviously it’s an if, we come to a point where the Government does not succeed on its motion and the opportunity exists this afternoon to cure that anomaly.”
However, prominent Brexiteer Steve Baker said that any such future amendments would not be binding.
Regarding the move by Mr Grieve, Mr Baker tweeted: “If passed allows for an amendable motion 21 days after a Government defeat of their dreadful deal.
“Whatever the outcome of the amendment, it is not legally binding on the PM.
“Acts are law, motions are motions. The executive still decides how to proceed.”
Commons leader Andrea Leadsom had urged Mr Grieve to abandon his bid to give MPs a greater role in shaping Brexit should the Government’s deal be defeated next week.
The former attorney general had tabled an amendment to the Government’s timetable for the Brexit debate which would give MPs a greater say.
Ms Leadsom told Mr Grieve to “focus on the matter at hand” rather than what would happen if the deal falls. She said: “I recognise the desire of (MPs) to ensure that their views are fully expressed if the vote on the deal does not pass, however I would encourage members at this stage to focus on the matter at hand.
“I would gently suggest that now is not the time to preempt whether or not further motions under Section 13 may be required as such I would encourage members not to press this amendment to the vote.”
But it has been revealed Jacob Rees-Mogg voted with Theresa May in a desperate attempt to avoid today’s shock Brexit defeat for the Government – because he knew it was the best chance at fighting for a hard, no-deal Brexit.
The Tory rebel has frequently voted against Mrs May in the House of Commons and has also submitted a letter calling for a leadership vote.
But this evening he voted with Mrs May and the Government against fellow Tory rebel Dominic Grieve’s surprise amendment.
Politics Home editor Kevin Schofield revealed Mr Rees-Mogg has not only voted with the Prime Minister but had also convinced a number of Labour MPs to do the same.