Tory rebels vow to resist 'blood-curdling threats' over Brexit bill

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The MP also said for MPs vote against repealing the European Communities Act 1972 "would effectively be completely contradicting and reserving their position".

The government were "boxing themselves into a corner" in using the bill to specify the exact date and time of Brexit - 23:00 GMT on 29 March 2019 - he said, because the United Kingdom would be "hamstrung" if the negotiations needed to be extended at the last minute.

But critics warn the European Union withdrawal bill - also known as the repeal bill - represents a power-grab by ministers, while others see the legislation as a chance to shape the prime minister's Brexit policy.

Last night the Government survived a number of crunch votes on amendments to the bill put forward by opposition politicians.

But despite the revolt, the measure passed through Parliament easily during the first day of debate over whether to amend the EU Withdrawal Bill.

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Grieve said there could be some room for compromise on most issues in the coming weeks but the efforts to find consensus were undermined by the government's "mad" amendment to ensure the European Union exit date is fixed at 11pm on 29 March.

One of the group, backbencher Heidi Allen, tweeted: "If fighting for the best possible future for our country and our government is considered mutiny - then bring it on".

Some of his colleagues, including former cabinet minister Morgan, shouted "you won't be", indicating they would join him in rejecting the timetable.

The Telegraph claimed at least 15 Tory MPs are ready to side with Labour and fight against the date of Brexit being enshrined in law.

The EU (Withdrawal) Bill is a key part of the government's strategy for leaving the EU following last year's referendum.

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Two Cabinet members quit in the past fortnight - defence secretary Sir Michael Fallon and worldwide development secretary Priti Patel - while two others stand accused of instructing May how to run Brexit.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon meanwhile has warned she will seek to block the bill unless changes are made to devolve more of the powers returned from Brussels.

Ms Sturgeon said: "We oppose Brexit but we understand withdrawal legislation is necessary, so we want to find agreement".

"The Withdrawal Bill as it stands would not be acceptable and we would not be able to recommend approval of that".

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