The UK Parliament approved the Conservative government’s EU withdrawal bill in June 2018, paving the way to Brexit by converting all applicable EU laws into UK law.
Without clear language to allow detailed parliamentary scrutiny of whatever deal – or no deal – is agreed with the EU.
Without the support of 6 rebel MPS from the governing Conservative party – but with the support of 4 opposition Labour MPs who are longstanding supporters of Brexit.
Without complete cabinet solidarity on the government’s approach to Brexit negotiations.
Without clarity on a number of outstanding key issues such as the UK’s future customs relationship with the EU and the Irish border.
And without even a hint of consensus on how to interpret all the political manoeuvring.
Prime Minister Theresa May called a cabinet meeting on July 6 at her country retreat Chequers to seek agreement on a Brexit negotiating position.
Opponents of Brexit held a massive protest march in London marking the second anniversary of the referendum on 23 June – organizers said they drew 100,000 people.
There was also a much smaller rally nearby in support of Brexit which included members of UKIP (the UK Independence Party) and far right groups such as White Pendragons and Generation Identity.
In a week of high political drama the government defeated a final amendment on June 20 to allow MPs a “meaningful vote” on the final Brexit deal by 319 votes to 303.
It was the second time in a week that MPs voted on this issue.
And it was the second time in a week that Prime Minister Theresa May was forced to offer an assurance to a small group of Tory MPs who threatened to vote against the government unless there was clear language on a “meaningful vote.”
The first time she headed off the revolt in the final hours by personally giving assurances to the rebels – they said. But almost immediately other cabinet ministers said no promises or concessions were given – only a promise of further discussions.
The second time she headed off the revolt – again in the final minutes – after convincing leading rebel Dominic Grieve with an assurance that the parliamentary Speaker could decide if MPs get a “meaningful vote” on Brexit.
Again cabinet ministers immediately said no concessions were made.
It was the final act allowing the government’s withdrawal bill through.
But it was far from the final act in the Brexit saga as Mrs. May faced a number of other Commons votes on Brexit issues, one expected within just a month on possibly the biggest core issue of Brexit – what kind of customs relationship to have with the EU.
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Theresa May calls Chequers cabinet meeting
Brexit opponents protest