Several Conservative MPs were threatening to vote against plans to put the Brexit date and time – 11pm on March 29, 2019 – into law.
But last night backbenchers tabled an amendment to the EU Withdrawal Bill, which will allow ministers to delay the date if needed.
Downing Street is considering the amendment, and sources told the BBC it was highly likely to be accepted. Possible rebels including Dominic Grieve, who led this week’s revolt, indicated they would accept the changes.
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It means Mrs May is likely to avoid a second embarrassing defeat in the Commons next Wednesday.
The new amendment was tabled last night by four Tory MPs including Bernard Jenkin and former minister Oliver Letwin. Senior Tory backbenchers from both the Leave and Remain factions appeared to be ready to back the compromise. Mr Grieve told the BBC that the amendment would leave him ‘fairly satisfied’.
He added: ‘The Government has, I think, this afternoon tabled a further amendment for next Wednesday, which very sensibly looks like it will resolve the issue that was troubling some of us. If that is the case, and I am fairly confident it is, then that issue will be satisfactorily resolved.’
Mr Jenkin, a leading Tory Brexiteer, said: ‘The purpose of this amendment is to avoid needless division over matters of detail when we should be supporting the PM.’
But we’ll be stuck with the Euro court during transition
From Mario Ledwith in Brussels
The UK will have to fully accept Brussels rules and the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice throughout the transitional window, EU leaders demanded last night.
The European Union’s Brexit guidelines said Britain would have to accept the key freedoms of the bloc – including freedom of movement – during the expected two-year transition period after Brexit. The means EU migrants will be able to travel freely to Britain until 2021.
The guidelines also said the UK would have to ‘continue to comply with EU trade policy’ during the phase.
However, EU sources suggested that despite this, Britain would be able to start negotiating trade deals before the transition ends.
Last night Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg warned that Britain will not have really left the EU if it remains subject to the jurisdiction of the ECJ during the transition period
Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg last night warned Britain will not have really left the EU if it remains subject to the jurisdiction of the ECJ during the transition period. He said: ‘We must get the benefits of Brexit as soon as possible. Remaining subject to the ECJ and free movement would mean we had not left the EU.
‘In the first round the Government allowed the EU to set the terms of the negotiations to our disadvantage, it must not make the same mistake again.’
Theresa May has insisted that the transition period will help make Brexit a success by giving certainty to businesses that are concerned about a ‘cliff edge’ split.
There had previously been concerns that Brussels might take a hard line throughout the period by preventing the UK from pushing for links outside the bloc.
But asked if the UK will be able to negotiate during the transition period, an EU source said: ‘Yes, because on March 29, 2019, they will leave the EU as the sovereign British people decided.’