Facing Defeat on Brexit, May Gives Ground to U.K.’s Parliament


On Tuesday, the pro-Brexit Conservative lawmaker, Edward Leigh, warned that defeating Mrs. May on the Lords amendment “would be a catastrophe for the government,” whose opponents, he said, want to “create a situation in which the whole process is frustrated.”

Dominic Grieve, one of the Conservative rebels, told lawmakers that “the irrationality of the debate we are having on the details of Brexit is truly chilling.”

Elsewhere in Parliament, Arron Banks, a high-profile businessman who helped finance one of the pro-Brexit referendum campaigns in 2016, played down the significance of meetings with Russian diplomats, and said there was “no evidence” of collusion with Moscow over the campaign of British withdrawal.

Mr. Banks, the combative founder of Leave.EU, appeared before the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee two days after it emerged that, in addition to a lunch he had made public with Alexander Yakovenko, the Russian ambassador to Britain, there had been two further meetings, and that he had discussed a potential Russian mining venture, which was not pursued.

At one encounter, after the American elections, Mr. Banks and his spokesman Andy Wigmore passed along contact details for the Trump transition team, which they had gotten on a visit to Trump Tower in New York, where they met the incoming president.

During their occasionally confrontational testimony, Mr. Banks and Mr. Wigmore admitted that they sometimes exaggerated to journalists, particularly during the referendum campaign.

Finally, as the hearing ran long, Mr. Banks cut short his appearance saying that he had a lunch appointment, telling the lawmakers that they could join him if they wanted.



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