PMQs LIVE: May shuts down Tory rebels and says amendment risks 'orderly and smooth Brexit'

Posted on Dec 13 2017 - 5:17pm by admin

Ms Soubry said she and Mrs May are proud of being called “difficult women” as she urged the Prime Minister to accept Mr Grieve’s Brexit amendment to give MPs a “meaningful vote” on the terms of Britain’s withdrawal from the EU.

Ms Soubry said: “The Prime Minister says she wants a meaningful vote… would she be so good as to accept his amendment in the spirit of unity for everybody here and in the country?” 

Mrs May responded: “We will ensure there is a meaningful vote in this House, there will then be the chance to look at the agreement and implementation bill.

“We are very clear we won’t introduce any statutory implements until that meaningful vote has taken place.”

However, the Prime Minister stopped short of agreeing to back Mr Grieve’s amendment, which would require the vote bewritten into law, because it could threaten Britain’s “smooth and orderly departure” fro the EU.

Ms Soubry was visibly unhappy with the PM’s response, shaking her head as Mrs May answered her question.

MPs are now preparing to for another gruelling session in the Commons as we reach day 7 of the Brexit Withdrawal Bill committee stage debates.

The Government could face its first defeat after almost 50 hours of debate with one amendment, tabled by Tory MP Dominic Grieve, gathered support from a number of Conservative rebels as well as opposition parties.

While the Brexit bill, in clause 9, gives ministers powers to implement the Brexit withdrawal agreement by order, the amendment says these power could only be exercised if they were “subject to the prior enactment of a statute by parliament approving the final terms of withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union.”

Therefore if the amendment is passed, parliament would have to approve the government’s final Brexit deal by passing a separate written law once the terms of the withdrawal agreement are known.

This could, in theory, allow MPs to send May back to the negotiating table if they do not like the deal.

Stay with us for live coverage of PMQs here ahead of more updates as MPs do battle over the Brexit bill…

pmqs live jeremy corbyn theresa mayPA

After PMQs, MPs face another Brexit Bill debate

For more on the EU Withdrawal Bill debate, follow our live blog HERE

12.45pm: Anna Soubry speaks out about Grieve’s amendment

Remain-backing Tory MP Anna Soubry has said she and the PM are proud of being called “difficult women”, but that for many years former attorney general Dominic Grieve has been loyal to his party as she calls on Mrs May to accept Grieve’s amendment 7 as a show of Conservative unity.

May says there will be a meaningful vote, but that David Davis has already set out this fact.

She hinted the Government will reject the amendment because it would likely delay key Brexit legislation, which could, in turn, delay Britain’s “orderly and smooth” exit.

12.43pm: Brexit impact papers revisited

Labour’s Stephen Timms, who appears to have missed the events of last week, asks why no work has been done on the impact of Brexit.

Mrs May tells him that is not the case and there are more than 800 pages of sectoral analysis on the projected consequences of Britain’s EU exit.

12.40pm: May hails ‘incredible work’ of EU nationals employed in NHS

Theresa May has joined Sarah Wollaston, the Tory chairwoman of the Health Selection Committee, in praising the efforts of EU nationals working in the NHS.

After Ms Wollaston asked whether their right would be guaranteed post-Brexit, the PM said the agreement made in Brussels last week on citizens’ rights “show very clearly” that the Government is ready to support EU nationals in Britain and allow them to continue living their lives here without any big changes.

The PM said: “We recognise the contribution EU nationals make to the country. We want people to be able to stay and we want families to stay together and that’s why I am very pleased about the arrangements we have set out in the joint-statement progress report.”

12.30pm: Labour MP wants a vote on leaving the single market

Well, it took 25 minutes, but we finally have our first Labour question about Brexit.

Heidi Alexander, who backed Remain, has put forward an EU Withdrawal Bill amendment which she says would give Parliament the power to decide whether Britain retains single market membership after Brexit.

The amendment will be debated later.

Mrs May responded: “This Parliament will have a meaningful vote.

“Membership of the single market – that decision was given to the people of this country and they made the choice.”

12.25pm: SNP rage at closure of banks in Scotland

Ian Blackford, The SNP’s Westminster leader, admits concerns about the number of banks closing in Scotland and says it could make it difficult for people in remote areas to access their finances.

He says the closures are “not acceptable” and asks the PM for her reactions.

Mrs May hit back, saying the closures are a “commercial matter for the banks” and that the number of people turning to online banking means a diminishing need for bank branches.


Theresa May

12.20pm: Housing debate continues

Jeremy Corbyn calls on the PM to introduce three-year tenancies for those in the private rented sector before unleashing a stinging attack on the Tories housing record, claiming home ownership under the Conservatives has fallen by 200,000.

The Labour leader described the Tory housing record as an “absolute disgrace” as he asks when the Government will “get on the side of tenants”.

Mrs May responds by criticising Labour’s record as she says that there were 1.74 million people waiting for social housing under Labour. 

She says: “It is the Conservatives that are delivering the homes that people need.”

12.10pm: Grenfell tribute leads to homelessness debate

After both Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn paid tribute to the victims of the Grenfell Tower fire ahead of a memorial service tomorrow, the pair debated homelessness with the Labour leader suggesting the Tories’ handling of Brexit shows they see working class communities.

Mrs May said the government is working on making more homes available as well as addressing rough sleeping, projects which were unveiled in last month’s Budget Speech.

Corbyn calls on May to guarantee that by Christmas 2018 there will be fewer children waking up in a property that is not their own home.  

Mrs May responds: “I have been very clear… that this Government is going to be a Government that puts a clear focus on housing, on building the homes that people need.”


12.05pm: May confirms a vote for both Houses of Parliament

An early taste of the Brexit Withdrawal Bill debate later today as Tory MP Cheryl Gillan asks May about the whether MPs will get a vote before Britain leaves the EU.

The PM confirms both Houses will get a vote and says “the final deal will be agreed before we leave”.

She says the UK parliament is expected to vote before the European Parliament which will be followed by a withdrawal agreement and implementation bill.

11.50am: Pay rise for MPs

MPs are set to receive a 1.8 per cent pay rise in April next year, which will take their basic salary to £77,379 per year.

The increase is set automatically in line with the annual change in average weekly earnings across the public sector in October, calculated by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) at 1.8 per cent.

If confirmed, the increase would be well above the 1 per cent annual cap imposed on most public sector workers during the past seven years, which ministers have indicated they are now willing to relax.

But it would still lag behind inflation, currently running at a six-year high of 3.1 per cent.

11.45am: The Prime Minister leaves Downing Street for the Commons


Mrs May leaves a festive-looking Downing Street for her penultimate PMQs of 2017

11.30am: EU Withdrawal Bill amendment overshadows PMQs

As MPs prepare for this week’s PMQs there seems to be one topic on everyone’s minds – Dominic Grieve’s amendment.

While the Government has defeated a number of amendments with slim majorities, this could prove to be Mrs May’s first EU Withdrawal Bill defeat with around 20 Tory MPs expected to rebel along with Labour and other opposition parties.

The Government has insisted MPs will be offered the chance to have their say on the terms of Brexit but MPs want the vote written into law, as well as a guarantee that it would take place before the Brexit departure date in March 2019.

The vote is expected to take place later tonight following a lengthy debate.

Leave A Response