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Ministers win key Brexit bill vote after concession

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The government has avoided a major defeat on its Brexit bill by 324 votes to 298 after a late concession.Ministers saw off a move to give MPs the decisive say on what happens over Brexit if they do not agree with the deal negotiated by the UK government.The concession offered by ministers is believed to include offering a new Parliamentary motion if the Brexit deal is voted down by MPs and peers.Two Tory MPs - Ken Clarke and Anna Soubry - voted against the government.Five Brexit-backing Labour MPs - Ronnie Campbell, Frank Field, Kate Hoey, John Mann and Graham Stringer - voted with the government as did Kelvin Hopkins, who sits as an independent after being suspended by Labour.
The BBC's political editor Laura Kuenssberg said she had been told by a government source that no actual concessions have been agreed and the only agreement was to keep talking.
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Ministers win key Brexit bill vote after concession

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Sir Edward Leigh urges MPs not to "stand in the way of the people"
Ministers win key Brexit bill vote after concession

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Stand up for what you believe in - Anna Soubry says
There were clashes over how much of a say Parliament should get as the UK leaves the EU, with one side accusing the other of trying to "wreck" Brexit - and being accused in turn of being "zealots" who wanted to sideline Parliament.Seeking to placate would-be Conservative rebels, government frontbenchers offered to meet them to discuss their concerns, and agreed to "engage positively" on a "compromise" put forward by one of them, former attorney general Dominic Grieve.Details of precisely what this will involve will be agree in the coming days with the bill due to return to the House of Lords.
The government blinked first
Analysis by BBC Parliamentary correspondent Mark D'ArcyThe government would not have sought a deal if it thought it had the votes to win, and they clearly blinked.The decision to seek a compromise marked an important victory for the soft Brexit/Remainer/"realist" Tory rebels, who have been promised an amendment giving them most of what they want.Read Mark's full blogDominic Grieve said he had "confidence and trust" that Prime Minister Theresa May would address his concerns.Should the UK and EU not be able to agree a deal or if MPs rejected the deal on offer, he said Parliament would have "structured input" into what happened next to try and avoid a crisis.Under the terms of his amendment, much of which the government is reported. to have accepted, MPs would have the power to amend and vote on a Parliamentary motion.
Phillip Lee spoke from the backbenches after quitting his ministerial job
But the government is not believed to be willing to agree to Mr Grieve's call for MPs to take control of negotiations in the last resort.Tory Brexiteer Sir Bill Cash said he was pleased the Lords amendment, which he said would have given Parliament an effective veto over Brexit, had been "soundly and significantly defeated".Referring to the government's 26 vote margin of victory, he told BBC News. "That's an awful lot….We are winning every vote. That is really important."Attempts to "reverse Brexit" would not succeed, he added.
'Held to account'
Labour said the prime minister may have avoided a "humiliating defeat" but the fight to ensure Parliament had a "proper role" in shaping the outcome of negotiations would continue. "We will wait and see the details of this concession and will hold ministers to account to ensure it lives up to the promises they have made to Parliament," said the party's Brexit spokesman Sir Keir Starmer.Earlier, the government suffered its first ministerial resignation over Brexit as Phillip Lee quit the Ministry of Justice so he could speak out freely.Mr Lee said Parliament was being sidelined and called for another referendum to be held when the final direction of Brexit becomes clear.
Skip Twitter post by @DrPhillipLeeMP
However, I can only vote on the amendment that is before Parliament. I resigned because I could not support the Government's opposition to the Lords' amendment and still cannot. But the Prime Minister has given her word. I trust her and so I will abstain.— Dr Phillip Lee MP (@DrPhillipLeeMP) June 12, 2018
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End of Twitter post by @DrPhillipLeeMP
Revealing he had abstained in the Commons vote on Parliament's role, he said he was "delighted" at the government's concession, adding: "This justifies my decision to resign and makes it a lot less painful."The government, meanwhile, has reversed a series of other changes made by the Lords to the EU Withdrawal Bill, including reinstating the precise day of departure - 29 March 2019 - in the proposed legislation.
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