Mutiny in the Ranks

Following the Olly Robbins Theresa May plan agreed at Chequers, there have been rumours of an attempt to remove Theresa May as PM

It remains unclear whether the number of Conservative MPs (48) required to force a no-confidence vote in May will be found and even then whether the vote would be successful when more than half of the party’s MPs (316) would be needed.

Arguments within the Tory party spilled over into amendments and votes on the Taxation (Cross-Border Trade) Bill on 16 July 2018 and the Trade Bill on 17 July 2018. However, the Government succeeded in getting both Bills through their 3rd Reading Stage.

Taxation (Cross-Border Trade) Bill

Debate on the Taxation (Cross-Border Trade) Bill continued on 16 July

Bill stages — Taxation (Cross-border Trade) Bill 2017-19

Brexit supporting Conservative MPs submitted four amendments to the Government’s Taxation (Cross-border Trade) Bill. These amendments were all accepted by the Government which angered MPs from the Remainer rebels who voted against the Government.

One amendment called for the UK to refuse to collect duties for the EU unless member states do likewise (New Clause 36)

This went to a vote with 305 votes for and 302 against – with 14 Tory rebels voting against the Government.

Another amendment required the UK to have an independent regime for VAT.

This also went to a vote with 303 votes for and 300 against – with 11 Tory rebels voting against the Government.

The other amendments accepted by the Government were to agree to a commitment to never having a border in the Irish sea and to require the Government to draw up primary legislation if the UK wants to remain in the EU customs union.

The Taxation (Cross-Border Trade) finally passed its 3rd Reading in the House of Commons by 318 in favour to 285 against on the 16 July 2018

3rd reading: House of Commons 16 July, 2018


Debate on the Trade Bill continued on 17 July and Tory rebels supported an amendment in favour of creating a customs union with the EU, which was subsequently defeated.

Bill stages — Trade Bill 2017-19

New Clause 17

This new clause would ensure that it is a negotiating objective for the UK Government to secure an international agreement through which the UK may continue to participate in the European medicines regulatory network partnership between the EU, EEA and the European Medicines Agency, ensuring that patients continue to have access to high-quality, effective and safe pharmaceutical and medical products, fully aligned with the member states of the EU and EEA.

The Government lost the vote on this amendment, tabled by the Tory MP Philip Lee.

The vote was

305 votes in favour to 301 against.

New clause 18

This new clause would make it a negotiating objective of the UK to establish a free trade area for goods between the UK and the EU and if that cannot be agreed then it should be the objective of the UK to secure an agreement to enable the UK’s participation in a customs union with the EU.

The vote was

301 in favour with 307 votes against

The Trade Bill passed its 3rd Reading in the House of Commons by 317 in favour to 286 against on the 17 July 2018

3rd reading: House of Commons 17 July, 2018


3 Labour Pro-Brexit MPs rebelled against their party by voting with the Government were

Frank Field
Kate Hoey
Graham Stringer

The Pro-EU Conservative rebel MPs were:

Heidi Allen
Guto Bebb
Richard Benyon
Jonathan Djanogly
Dominic Grieve
Stephen Hammond
Philip Lee
Nicky Morgan
Robert Neill
Mark Pawsey
Antoinette Sandbach
Anna Soubry
Sarah Wollaston