British MPs will be given a final vote on the Brexit deal before it heads to the European Parliament – but will not be able to shape terms or restart negotiations. The vote will not be written in the Article 50 bill but is instead guaranteed by Theresa May's government.
On Tuesday (7 February), Parliament voted against an amendment to the bill introduced by a Labour backbencher, requiring a parliamentary vote on the deal, by 33 votes. However, seven Tories defected while six Labour MPs voted with the government.
May's concession on the MPs' vote could be to prevent a Tory rebellion that could cause headaches if it grows for the government, who have a working majority of just 16. Sky News quoted sources as saying that a number of rebel Conservative MPs signed a warning letter to Downing Street on Tuesday morning.
Brexit minister David Jones announced the assurance to parliament after being questioned by Shadow Secretary for Exiting the EU, Sir Keir Starmer.
He said: "I can confirm that the government will bring forward a motion on the final agreement to be agreed by both Houses of Parliament before it's concluded and we expect and intend that this will happen before the European Parliament debates and votes on the final agreement."
The final reading of the bill is set to take place in parliament on Wednesday (8 February). May is expected to trigger Article 50 and start negotiations for the UK to leave the EU by the end of February. The negotiations will then take two years to complete.
Some MPs have argued that a vote to essentially take or drop the deal does not give them any real say in the proceedings. Liberal Democrat EU Spokesperson Nick Clegg said: "This concession from the government could still put MPs in an invidious position, faced with a choice between a bad deal and no deal at all.
"It is not good enough for the government to offer parliament a hard Brexit or an even harder Brexit."