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Not up for discussion: PM appears to row back on Brexit bill promise

The Prime Minister appears to have rowed back on promises to rebel MPs yesterday that she would discuss another concession with them this week.

Remainers met privately with Theresa May yesterday afternoon, minutes before voting to back the government on the EU Withdrawal Bill after it was felt the Prime Minister had made significant enough concessions.

MPs told City A.M. they had been guaranteed "talks and a discussion" on clause C of Dominic Grieve's amendment, which would give the Commons the right to direct future Brexit talks if no agreement had been reached by 15 February.

They were also told the first two parts of Grieve's amendment – including that MPs will have a veto on what do to if an agreement can't be reached by 30 November – would be considered with a view to being tabled to the Lords.

While those less controversial clauses are now expected to be put to the peers on Monday, clause C is not – and looks unlikely to feature in any talks.

The PM's spokesman this afternoon pointed to a statement issued by the Department for Exiting the EU (DexEU) saying that ministers would not agree to anything that results in "binding the government's hands in the negotiations."

Asked if that meant clause C was not up for discussion, he added: "That's a fair assessment."

One MP told City A.M. that would risk the PM's future support, saying: "If there is no discussion, there will be no agreement on any amendment."

Arch Remainer Anna Soubry tweeted: "For the avoidance of doubt the PM said yesterday that clause c of Dominic Grieves amendment would be discussed as part of the new amendment to be tabled in the Lords. If the PM goes back on that there will be no agreed amendment that I can support."

Yesterday Tory backbenchers warned that any row-back from their understanding of the deal agreed "would be, in the words of the Prime Minister, a matter of trust".

"It would be very serious – a betrayal of the PM's trust," the MP added.

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