Theresa May set for Brexit date climbdown

Written by Emilio Casalicchio on 20 December 2017 in News

Theresa May set to concede to rebels over Brexit date amendment to avoid an embarassing defeat

Theresa May Brexit statement - PA

Theresa May is set for a humiliating climbdown on her promise to stamp the Brexit date into UK law as scores of MPs line up to back a rival amendment.

Former Minister Sir Oliver Letwin said the Government was “likely to accept” his new plan that would include the date in legislation but allow vital room for manoeuvre.

The Prime Minister last month announced an amendment to the bill that would set the Brexit date at 11pm on 29 March 2019.

Tory rebels who argued the Brexit negotiations may need to be extended for a short time were in line to inflict a second bruising defeat on the Government tonight.

But Sir Oliver tabled his new amendment as a compromise - paving the way for a major retreat by Mrs May on the final Commons committee day of the EU Withdrawal Bill.

It would leave the date on the face of the bill but allow parliament a vote to change it if negotiations overrun.

Sir Oliver told the Daily Telegraph yesterday: "As far as I can make out all will be well.”

He added: “All the indications I'm getting are that the Government is likely to accept it."

The new amendment has the support of dozens of Tory MPs, including Brexit supporters Jacob Rees-Mogg and Sir William Cash and Remain supporters George Freeman and Nick Boles.

A number of the Tory rebels who beat the Government last week on an amendment demanding a ‘meaningful vote’ on the final Brexit deal have also voiced their support for it.

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