The government was openly opposed to any amendments, as were many Brexiteers who saw any wish to change the bill to be an attempt to slow the process down or subvert "the will of the people" or something. The main argument against these amendments is that they weaken our negotiating hand. Now that the amendment on EU citizens' rights has passed in the Lords however, the government should really consider dropping its opposition to the change for a number of reasons. Firstly, nobody wants these people to be used as bargaining chips, and they would be rubbish ones if they were. It seems very obvious that both sides want to guarantee these people's rights and those of British nationals within the EU as soon as possible, but were prepared to leave it to the negotiations. A situation where this doesn't eventually happen is almost unthinkable. If the government's position on this seemed bad before, it will look far, far worse if they actively try to get the amendment removed. This is an opportunity to finally claim some high ground and set an example when walking into the negotiations, and it would grant enormous relief to those concerned about their futures. Furthermore, attempting to defeat the change in the Commons is much more likely to delay A50 than just going with it. Finally, Brexiteers would have the chance to enjoy the sweet irony of watching those who would seek to stop Brexit altogether all of a sudden be voting alongside them to make the whole thing happen more quickly and amicably. I just don't see what the government has to gain by continuing to fight this battle, especially If Labour are brave enough to put up a fight. On the other hand, they appealed the High Court case on the parliamentary vote when there was realistically nothing to gain, so we will see.
The second possible amendment seeks to give parliament a "meaningful" vote on the final deal, essentially removing the "no deal" route, although I'm not sure exactly how this would work if such a vote went against whatever deal we come up with. The government is very clear that it considers no deal to be better than a bad deal, so it's fierce opposition to this change is understandable. Certainly, removal of the threat of walking away with "no deal" will influence the EU's willingness to give us a good one, although as I have previously mentioned I'm positive that everyone knows this is a bluff anyway, so I'm pretty agnostic on this point. Sure, we can threaten to walk away with no deal, but if everybody knows that we absolutely wouldn't I'm not sure what this changes. Alas, the WTO route still lingers on the horizon, and I'm still of the opinion that it is a very bad, no-good strategy, although I'd be very interested to hear why it might not be. As it turns out, the Independent is reporting a survey which found that there is absolutely no majority support for the "no deal" option by the public, even amongst Tory voters. Eyes and ears open over the next few days to see how this progresses.
There was some other stuff going on last week, mainly around this £50bn+ Brexit bill we could be served upon exit and whether we would be legally be bound to pay it. I don't have a great deal to say about this because it is old news. We certainly knew a divorce bill would be likely before the referendum. As to the legal implications of such a bill, the consensus is that no consensus is offered by international law and that neither side can be sure of the legalities, so i'll leave it to the lawyers to figure out.
Finally, ourselves and Pearson Legal have teamed up for a weekly Last Week In Brexit Podcast. Episode 2 landed this morning and is available on iTunes. If you like it, please tweet, subscribe and shout about it from the rooftops.