"If, in the future, I am to look my children in the eye and honestly say that I did my best for them I can not, in all good conscience, support how our country's exit from the European Union looks set to be delivered". That has potentially seismic consequences for the protracted and increasingly messy split from Brussels. "A vote between bad and worse is not a meaningful vote".
The Lib Dems, who identify strongly as an anti-Brexit party to the point of pushing for a second referendum and running by-elections in Remain-friendly seats on that platform, opposed the Government.
Remain-supporting Dr Lee quit as justice minister live on stage during a speech in London, saying he could not support "how our country's exit from the European Union looks set to be delivered".
A legally binding backstop is required by October if there's to be a Brexit deal.
"First, we must never do anything that undermines the Government's negotiating position or encourages delays in the negotiations", Mr Davis said. The victory was Pyrrhic, as the government's earlier climbdown all but ensures MPs will have an increased say on the terms of any deal.
Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May returns to Downing Street from the Houses of Parliament in London, Britain, June 12, 2018.
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The upshot of the shift may well be as dramatic as the parliamentary procedure is incomprehensible.
The former attorney general told Press Association: "The Prime Minister agreed that the amendments we had tabled, and the issue that we had raised about Parliament's role in the event of no deal was an important one, and undertook to work with us to put together amendments to present in the Lords which would address those concerns".
"I am confident I can get a deal that allows us to strike our own trade deals while having a border with the European Union which is as frictionless as possible". Given that after November 30, the House of Commons looks set to be empowered in the negotiations, it would not be in Barnier's interest to negotiate a harder form of Brexit before the U.K.'s self-imposed deadline.
That came after the embarrassing spectacle of government minister Robert Buckland effectively negotiating with Grieve, through a series of interventions in the rebel backbencher's speech, in what Anna Soubry called "a peculiar sort of horse-trading" - and then literally negotiating with him, in whispered exchanges, as the debate went on around them.
But government officials admitted that the concession does constrain their freedom in the Brexit talks.
The pro-European cause was boosted when junior justice minister Phillip Lee, a close personal friend of the prime minister, resigned shortly before the debate in order to back the veto amendment.
Which side won on Tuesday will become much clearer in the next few days, when the government amendment is tabled in black and white. Yes, it's a significant compromise but we live to fight another day.