British PM Theresa May loses in a critical Brexit vote

After losing a close 309-305 vote in favour of the amendment, Theresa May will have have to negotiate with the EU knowing that parliment can second guess any deal that is reached.

Theresa May
British Prime Minister - Theresa May, Photo by Annika Haas, via Wikimedia Commons

MP’s in the British parliament have defeated Prime Minister Theresa May on a vote regarding the EU exit strategy more commonly known as ‘Brexit’.  The vote now means that the Parliament will have the final word on any exit strategy with the European Union.

After a loss of the conservative majority in a June election, 309 to 305 voted in favour of this amendment. Ms May’s team tried desperately to convince MP’s in her own party to give up their fierce demands for fear it would weaken the British position in ongoing Brexit talks.

British MPs are currently arguing on the European Union withdrawal bill that is aimed to tear down the 1972 laws that bound Britain to the European Union. The bill is designed to copy EU domestic law so that there is still legal continuity after the Brexit is finalised on the expected date of 29th March 2019.

Earlier in the week an amendment was entered into parliament by Dominic Grieve, a conservative politician and ex-attorney general. The amendment wanted to make sure parliament had a meaningful say in the terms of the Brexit deal before it became British law.

Mr Grieve stood strong against backlash from his fellow conservative MPs who engaged in disparaging rhetoric calling him a traitor for defying the government and the Brexit terms as they were.

This defeat in Parliament comes at a difficult time for Prime Minister May as she is set to attend an upcoming EU summit that will involve 27 European leaders to approve the move to the next stage of Brexit negotiations. This next stage would involve discussion of future trade relationships.

The Brexit bill has created huge amounts of controversy ever since it became a political issue in Britain and has since been bitterly debated in parliament. The last week of arguments in the British parliament has highlighted divisions within both political parties and across Britain more broadly.

Commentators have used this recent defeat as another sign of Ms May’s overall weakness as a prime minister. She gambled in June by calling on an election in the hopes of getting a larger majority of seats but ended up with less than she started.

This setback also follows the recent withdrawl of support by a Northern Ireland Party from Brexit negotiations.

Ms May has since had incredible difficulty in organising and asserting her authority over her conservative party which is deeply split on how best to go about the Brexit bill.

Politicians in favour of Brexit as fearful this new amendment will give Britain a weaker hand to play at the negotiating table in talks with the EU. Despite Brexit’s original intentions analysts believe that it is currently set to weaken Britain in both its economy and international status.