MPs will vote on Brexit legislation in weeks so May can avoid summer of rebel plotting

Theresa May is expected to put her flagship Brexit legislation to MPs for crunch votes before summer to avoid weeks of plotting and briefing from Remainers and Leavers, The Yorkshire Post understands.

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It follows speculation that the Prime Minister could delay the EU (Withdrawal) Bill until after the summer recess after suffering 15 defeats in the House of Lords.

But two well-placed sources told this newspaper the Bill will return to the Commons before the break, which starts on July 24.

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Peers’ amendments to the Bill have set up Brexit-defining battles in the House of Commons over whether Britain should remain in a customs union with the EU and around the nature of the vote MPs will get on the withdrawal deal in autumn.

Tory Remainer rebels and Labour look on course to defeat the Government by backing the Lords on a customs union.

But Labour’s reluctance to back Lords amendment calling for membership of the European Economic Area (EEA) has however killed off Remainers’ hopes of remaining in the single market.

Despite the prospect of defeats and splits in her Cabinet over customs, it is understood that Mrs May would be reluctant to countenance a summer of plotting and briefing from arch-Brexiteers and Remainer rebels seeking to change the nature of her Brexit strategy by inflicting defeats on her in Parliament.

Commons Leader Andrea Leadsom could announce the timetabling for Commons consideration of Lords amendments to the Bill as early as today, when she delivers her regular statement on upcoming business in the House.

The Bill’s passage has been delayed for a number of weeks amid suggestions the Government was worried about its fate at the hands of MPs.