I confess, I’m not too sure what’s going on here:
Theresa May is due at a summit in Brussels, hours after Conservative rebels in the Commons defeated the government in a key Brexit vote.
MPs backed an amendment giving them a legal guarantee of a vote on the final Brexit deal struck with Brussels.
One rebel, Stephen Hammond, was sacked by the prime minister as a party vice chairman in the aftermath of the vote.
I think this might be the key passage:
It will not derail Brexit but MPs who voted against the government hope it will give them a bigger say in the final deal Theresa May strikes with Brussels.
The government had promised a “meaningful vote” for MPs on the final Brexit deal, but this defeat means that promise now has legal force and must happen before any UK-EU deal is implemented in the UK.
I don’t think this is necessarily a bad thing for Brexiteers. Firstly, I heard this EU Withdrawal Bill contained passages which effectively gave unlimited power to the government with no oversight. I don’t know whether the vote last night has removed those clauses, but I’m not going to be too upset that someone like May is getting a kicking from the back-benches over a bill with stuff like this in.
Secondly, a few months ago I wasn’t too happy at the prospect of parliament having an effective veto over the final agreement with the EU over Brexit. Back then I thought the most likely scenario is one whereby we get a reasonable deal which gets scuppered by a hardcore Remain parliament, but now I think it’s far more likely May & Co. will sign us up to the worst deal imaginable with concession after concession in return for almost nothing leaving us in the EU in all but name. If this is what the negotiation progress brings, and the EU continue to display their staggering arrogance towards the people of the UK, the make-up of parliament in 2-3 years time may well be firmly behind Leave and can subsequently reject it. In other words, I think the benefit of a Leave-leaning parliament being able to reject a terrible deal outweighs the risk that a Remain-leaning parliament will reject a reasonable deal.
How this will all play out, and what shape parliament will be in on the day the vote is taken, is anyone’s guess. But one thing is still abundantly clear: May needs to go, immediately.