Published: 21:00, 14 December 2017
| Updated: 21:08, 14 December 2017
Dover MP Charlie Elphicke stopped short of joining 11 of his colleagues who inflicted an embarrassing defeat on the Prime Minister over the terms of UK’s departure from the EU.
The Conservative MP was one of three to abstain on a vote that will mean Parliament will get to have a say on the terms of the final Brexit deal.
Kent’s other Conservative MPs all supported the government.
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Speaking in last night’s debate, Mr Elphicke emphasised he remained a Brexiteer but was concerned the Government would be bypassing Parliament.
“We must remember why we are taking back control.
"It is because of the vision we have for our country and because of our values.
"Those values include the rule of law, natural justice and the sovereignty of Parliament.
"The rule of law exists to ensure that executive power is not abused, and that is why I object to Clause 9,” he told the Commons.
Eleven MPs backed an amendment by the former attorney general Dominic Grieve to enshrine in law parliament’s right to a meaningful vote on the Brexit deal.
The defeat for the government came as the Prime Minister headed for Brussels for talks over the next stage of negotiations.
There are mixed views over the significance of last night’s vote.
It was seen by supporters of Brexit as an ongoing attempt to frustrate the withdrawal process and the rebels have signalled they intend to return with more amendments.
The next flashpoint is likely to come with the government’s efforts to enshrine in law the date by which departure from the EU should happen.