May ploughs on with Brexit plan despite three defeats in House

Embattled British Prime Minister Theresa May, above (Photo credit: Govt.UK) suffered setbacks over Brexit even before starting a debate on the deal in the House of Commons on Tuesday, media reports say.

The deal on UK’s withdrawal from EU and future relations with it will be put to vote on Dec 11.

First, MPs voted in favour of a motion holding May’s government in contempt of parliament for its failure to publish the legal advice on Brexit in full. The government issued only a summary of the legal advice.

Second, they voted against a government proposal to refer the legal question to the parliament’s privileges committee.

Third, they voted in favour of giving more powers to the parliament if the Brexit is voted down on Dec 11.

The government has now agreed to publish the Brexit legal advice in full on Wednesday.

Despite facing three defeats in a single day, May called the deal an honourable compromise. People voted for Brexit in 2016 and MPs have the duty to deliver it, she said.

The conflict over Brexit is corroding UK politics and people want it to be resolved at the earliest. If MPs vote down the deal next week, Britain would have a hard landing after leaving EU or may never leave the bloc.

Strangely, May’s own party members are challenging her deal.

Moving an amendment seeking more powers to the Commons, Conservative politician Dominic Grieve said the will of parliament is supreme and the final decision on Brexit rests with the public because only they can resolve it.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn called the political declaration accompanying the deal a vague wish list. He said people have no idea on the UK’s future ties with EU. This is why MPs cutting across party lines are feeling reluctant to vote for the deal, he said.

While it is wrong to speculate on the possible outcome of Brexit vote, some reports say the prime minister may fall short by some 50 votes.