Published: Wed, July 18, 2018
Global Media | By Garry Long

Tory rounds on government over 'scandalous' handling of trade bill

Tory rounds on government over 'scandalous' handling of trade bill

The Green Party MP Caroline Lucas said the vote would strengthen calls for a second European Union referendum on the terms of the UK's Brexit deal.

With an ever-diminishing majority the United Kingdom government has resorted to drastic measures, proposing that parliament closes five days earlier than usual.

On Tuesday, they vote on the Trade Bill - the one May's government is most anxious about.

In two votes in the United Kingdom parliament this week, the latest on Tuesday night, May only just avoided defeat at the hands of pro-EU members of her party.

On Monday, MPs vote on the Taxation (Cross-Border Trade) Bill.

Tuesday's vote will be on the trade bill, which is focused on converting trade deals between the European Union and third countries into bilateral deals with Britain.

The Prime Minister was saved from a humiliating reverse by the votes of four Labour Brexiteers - and one now sitting as an independent - who backed the Government in the crucial division.

The prospect of continued drama in parliament and doubts over the future of May's "white paper" Brexit plan - which is itself only a starting point for talks with the European Union - is testing the patience of businesses that depend on cross-border trade.

In a sometimes heated debate Conservative Anna Soubry said the plan May agreed at her meeting with ministers at her Cheqeurs retreat had now been wrecked by caving in to no-deal Brexiteers.

They had very few three-pointers to speak of; in other words, they were the opposite of what the NBA is supposed to be today. In fact, not only do they have deficiencies, but they do not even have the tools or resources to resolve those deficiencies.

"This could lead to a damaging and disorderly Brexit", she wrote.

Mrs May faces further danger on Tuesday, with pro-EU Tories tabling amendments to the Trade Bill, which returns to the Commons.

The crucial vote came moments after the Government went down to defeat by 305-301 over medicines regulation.

Three Labour MPs voted with the government.

Greening, who defeated Labour's Neeraj Patil in Putney in the 2017 mid-term election, described May's plan in an article in The Times as "the worst of both worlds", adding that the final decision should be given back to the people and out of "deadlocked politicians" hands.

Government whips overcame the rebellion by a dozen Tory lawmakers - reportedly issuing last-ditch threats it would prompt a no-confidence vote in the prime minister - by just seven votes.

The Conservative rebels were the long-time pro-EU MP Ken Clarke, Heidi Allen, Guto Bebb, Richard Benyon, Jonathan Djanogly, Dominic Grieve, Stephen Hammond, Philip Lee, Nicky Morgan, Robert Neill, Mark Pawsey, Antoinette Sandbach, Anna Soubry and Sarah Wollaston.

Half of Britons said the control she has over her party amounted to "not much", with 24% declaring that she had none whatsoever and just 19% thinking she had a "fair amount".

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