- MPs will be handed the power to delay the exact date and time of Brexit.
- It comes as Theresa May looks to head off another embarrassing rebellion in Parliament.
- The Brexit Bill amendment was tabled by four Conservative MPs.
MPs will be handed the power to delay the exact date and time Britain leaves the European Union as the government looks to avoid another defeat in Parliament.
Just days after MPs secured a meaningful vote on the final Brexit deal, in an embarrassing rebellion against Prime Minister Theresa May, the government is looking to head off another upset.
Several reports on Friday revealed that 10 Downing Street is ready to support an amendment to the Brexit Bill next week, which will give MPs the “power to amend the definition of exit day” to a later date, Sky News reported.
The government originally wanted to enshrine an exact EU departure time – 11 p.m. on 29 March 2019 – into the bill, but MPs were worried that it would give Britain less flexibility in its negotiations with Brussels.
The amendment was secured after talks between the government and Conservative MPs who rebelled against Theresa May during the week. One of those rebels, Dominic Grieve, welcomed the resolution.
“By restoring flexibility to altering the date of exit if needed, [the amendments] reduce the risk of a chaotic Brexit through last-minute failure which might be readily curable by a change to the date. We are pleased the government has responded to our concerns and will support these amendments,” he said in a statement.
Another pro-EU Tory, Paul Masterton, tweeted:
Pleased to see a sensible amendment to the Withdrawal Bill that gives us flexibility on Brexit date if we need it. Look forward to adding my name to it on Monday and hope it draws support across the Party
— Paul Masterton MP (@PM4EastRen) December 15, 2017
The amendment was originally tabled by four Conservative backbench MPs: Remain supporters Jeremy Lefroy and Oliver Letwin, and Brexiteers Bernard Jenkin and Geoffrey Cox.