Theresa May is facing a number of rebellions from within the Tory party
Following last night’s vote to trigger Article 50 and start Brexit negotiations, rebellions are brewing, with the top demand being European Union (EU) citizens guaranteed the right to stay in Britain after Brexit.
MPs approved the first stage of legislation by 498 votes to 114, with 47 Labour MPs defying Jeremy Corbyn’s three-line whip to vote it through and two more shadow cabinet members resigning minutes before.
The Lib Dems and SNP voted against as did one Conservative, former Justice Secretary Ken Clarke.
His defiance could spell the beginning of a rebellion for Mrs May as her team were keen to reassure Tory MPs the 3.3million EU citizens living in Britain would not have their rights stripped from them to benefit Brexit negotiations.
Any fight against the negotiation details risk putting the whole deal on hold, something the Government is keen to avoid.
The first Article 50 Brexit vote was passed by a large majority
Another concern is a plan to remove Britain from the EU nuclear treaty which puts research and future investment at threat.
And a group of Tories are pushing for parliament to have an early say on the exit deal secured by Mrs May to provide enough time to force her back into negotiations if they deem the details inadequate.
During a private meeting Brexit secretary David Davis attempted to reassure MPs there were “only a couple” of countries blocking a deal on EU citizens and it could be done quickly.
A white paper published today will provide further clarity, but could draw potential rebel MPs out of the woodwork.
Ken Clarke was the sole Tory rebel in the vote, but more are set to follow
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Jeremy Corbyn already faced a rebellion on Wednesday night
Home secretary Amber Rudd is expected to call those MPs as soon as the white paper is published.
Since Britain voted to leave the union in June EU citizens living in the UK have been concerned they are living in limbo as Theresa May has refused to guarantee they will be able to remain after Brexit.
Theresa May's 12 point Brexit plan
Mon, January 16, 2017
It's finally here!
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Continued cooperation with the EU to tackle terrorism and international crime.
International Trade Secretary Liam Fox described them as “one of our main cards” in negotiations.
Mrs May first of all wants to gain guarantees on the future of the 890,000 Britons living across the EU, mainly in Spain, Ireland and France.
A group of Conservative MPs are concerned about removing 3.3million EU citizens from the UK, with several having family members from the bloc living in the UK.
One Tory told The Times: “No 10 should be scared. There are easily more than half a dozen who could vote against the government and lots more abstentions."
Another senior Tory said: "I am surprised at how many colleagues are very, very unhappy."
They said they believe Mrs May "got" the issue "sorting out the endgame was critical".
Alberto Costa, Tory MP for South Leicestershire, whose Italian parents live in Britain, told the Commons: “When I and other members of this House voted, rightly, to give the British people the ultimate say in this matter, we did not vote to take away the rights of EU citizens like my parents who live in this country.
“It is disgraceful that, as it stands today, we are not honouring their rights."