Published: Wed, June 13, 2018
Global | By Marsha Munoz

Lee resigns United Kingdom justice ministry role in Brexit protest


A junior minister in the government of British Prime Minister Theresa May resigned on Tuesday ahead of a crucial vote that could decide the future of Brexit-and perhaps the Prime Minister herself.

Conservative lawmaker Phillip Lee, who voted to remain in the European Union in Britain's 2016 referendum, resigned as a justice minister so he could vote against the government on a key measure.

During three and a half hours of tense debate on amendments to the EU Withdrawal Bill, government whips held whispered conferences with a handful of Tories on the Commons benches.

The opposition Labour Party wants to force the government to negotiate a Brexit deal where the United Kingdom retains "full access" to the EU's single market and that would ensure "no new impediments" to trade.

During a frantic day of discussions between ministers and Conservative backbenchers, potential rebels were eventually persuaded to back down when Solicitor General Robert Buckland told MPs that ministers were willing to "engage positively" with their concerns.

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"The main reason for my taking this decision now is the Brexit process and the government's wish to limit parliament's role in contributing to the final outcome in a vote that takes place today", he said in a statement released on his website.

In an earlier vote, MPs voted by 328 votes to 297 to disagree with another Lords amendment which was linked to changes to the day Britain leaves the EU.

Pro-Brexit Conservative MP Edward Leigh slammed pro-EU colleagues, saying Parliament must respect the result of the June 2016 voter referendum.

Mr Grieve joined Iain Dale to reveal more.

Starmer's call comes as lawmakers are bracing for a fierce parliamentary debate over Britain's European Union divorce bill.

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"The reason for that is that the House of Commons if it sets out indications for how the Government should negotiate, it's a very inflexible body for doing that".

She said unless there was a "meaningful vote" Parliament would be left with "the grim choice between a poor deal and exit with no deal at all". Brexit-backers objected as it would have all but removed the no-deal nuclear option from negotiators' arsenal. "They want us to regain control of our borders", he said.

It featured a British flag and the headline: "Ignore the will of the people at your peril".

Further clashes were expected on Wednesday during debate on amendments relating to how closely Britain stays aligned with the EU's economy after leaving.

They have an ace up their sleeve as they go into talks with the government: if May reneges on her pledge, pro-EU members of the House of Lords will amend her legislation again.

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"I absolutely trust what the Prime Minister says to us", he told BBC Radio 4's PM programme.

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