The Government has survived a motion by six votes that was tabled by Tory Remainers which would have forced the Government to break a deal to stay in the Customs Union should no free trade deal be reached by January 2019.
The Government were helped by Labour Brexiteers (John Mann, Frank Field, Kate Hoey and Graham Stringer) which clearly points to a failing from the Labour Whips, something Keir Starmer, Labour’s Shadow Brexit Secretary, called only call a “near miss” and is adamant that the “Margin is closing on these votes & we will keep at it”.
This is a victory, and massive sigh of relief, for the government, who were earlier defeated on a motion regarding the Medicines Regulation Amendment. However, this should not be belittled, as this as only the second time the government has been defeated on key Brexit legislation.
It has been strongly rumoured around Westminster that the Tory Whips and Number 10 threatened Tory rebels with a vote of no confidence in the government, and thus a potential general election, if they did not support the government in the matter.
Liam Fox has called on Tory Remainers to work with the government during this period of Brexit negotiations. This comes a day after Justine Greening called for another referendum on the terms of leaving the EU.