Tory Brexit rebels could collapse the Government, says Dominic Grieve
The former attorney general’s comments come on the eve of a fresh Commons clash on Parliament’s role.
Tory rebels could collapse the Government, former attorney general Dominic Grieve has said.
Rebel ringleader Mr Grieve made it clear pro-Europe Tories did not intend to back down in their clash with Prime Minister Theresa May over how much say the Commons gets over Brexit.
Rebels want Parliament to have the right to block a no-deal Brexit.
And I can assure you I wake up at 2am in a cold sweat thinking about the problems that we have put on our shoulders Dominic Grieve
Asked if voting against the Government could bring it down, Mr Grieve told BBC1’s Sunday Politics: “We could collapse the Government.
“And I can assure you I wake up at 2am in a cold sweat thinking about the problems that we have put on our shoulders.
“The difficulty is that the Brexit process is inherently risky.”
The showdown over a so-called “meaningful vote” for MPs is set to dominate the Commons again this week as the EU (Withdrawal) Bill returns from the Lords in a bout of Parliamentary “ping pong”.
Mr Grieve told the Press Association that his comments about collapsing the Government referred to a future vote on rejecting a Brexit deal, not to this week’s clash with the PM.
The former attorney general said it was important for MPs to have a real say on a Brexit deal.
He told the BBC: “I can’t save the Government from getting into a situation where Parliament might disagree with it.
“The alternative is that we have all got to sign-up to a slavery clause now saying whatever the Government does, when it comes to January, however potentially catastrophic it might be for my constituents, and my country, I’m signing in blood now that I will follow over the edge of the cliff.
“And that, I can tell you, I am not prepared to do.”
The comments came after Tory rebels expressed disappointment that a compromise amendment Mrs May tabled after talks was weaker than they wanted.
Rebels are angry because the Government amendment leaves Parliament facing a “deal or no deal” choice.
If MPs reject the agreement reached by Mrs May with Brussels, or if no deal has been obtained by January 21, Parliament will be offered the opportunity only to vote on a “neutral motion” stating that it has considered a minister’s statement on the issue.
Crucially, the motion will be unamendable, meaning that MPs cannot insert a requirement for Mrs May to go back to the negotiating table, extend the Brexit transition or revoke the UK’s withdrawal under Article 50.
Mrs May insisted she was a woman of her word and had listened to rebels’ concerns and acted on them.
The PM told BBC1’s The Andrew Marr Show: “I did indeed meet a group of my fellow MPs.
“I listened to their concerns and I undertook to consider their concerns.
“And the next day I stood up in Prime Minister’s Questions and said I’d put an amendment down in the House of Lords. I’ve done exactly that.
“We recognise the concerns people have about the role of Parliament.”
Mrs May added: “Parliament cannot tie the hands of Government in negotiations.”