Tory rebels on verge of forcing government to drop Brexit date


"Generally speaking, I am concerned that the withdrawal bill has flaws both in terms of some of its constitutional implications and also the possibility that it will impede our ability to negotiate a clean exit and a decent new arrangement with the European Union post our leaving".

The signatories include Tory MPs with a history of challenging their own party leadership, including Ken Clarke, Heidi Allen and Anna Soubry.

A FORMER minister reported receiving threatening messages after being branded a "Brexit mutineer" in a newspaper. It was also unhelpful in our wish to find an acceptable solution that works.

He continued: "I put the Government on notice that we are going to have to draw together the issues that we're debating today".

The government avoided any defeats on the second day of debating amendments to the withdrawal bill, but its majority on one vote concerning workers' rights and environmental standards after Brexit dropped to 12. They have backed plans to repeal the 1972 European Communities Act, which will end the supremacy of EU law in the United Kingdom, by 318 votes to 68.

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They are picked out by the Telegraph for opposing a government move to enshrine the date of Brexit in law - which they have warned could scupper a good deal if negotiations go on longer than expected and the process needs to be extended.

Asked whether the exit date amendment could be withdrawn, he said: "It's hypothetical but as the PM said various constructive suggestions have been made during the committee debates about how the bill might be improved and obviously we will listen to ideas coming from colleagues across the house during the bill's progress in both the Commons and Lords".

A Whitehall source said the government was trying to think of a way of watering down its amendment without taking out its reference to 11pm on 29 March 2019.

The latest attempts to change key Brexit legislation have been defeated in the Commons, after Theresa May called on MPs to "come together" on the issue.

She tweeted: "If fighting for the best possible future for our country and our government is considered mutiny - then bring it on".