Five things we learned from the Brexit debate

Theresa May feeling the stress of Brexit on her last visit to Brussels More

Britain's government suffered another setback Wednesday as MPs voted to force it to announce within three sitting days what steps it will take next if its Brexit deal is rejected by parliament next week as appears likely.

Speaker John Bercow was subject to jeering in the chamber on Wednesday morning when he announced that parliament would be allowed to vote on the amendment, as parliamentary rules usually only allow a government minister to make changes to motions of this type.

"But it is also the intention, if that were not to take place, that we respond quickly to provide certainty on the way forward following that vote".

"I disagree with that, and so I think do the vast majority of Members of Parliament".

MPs want to intervene to prevent this from happening, and they narrowly voted on Tuesday for an amendment that would curtail the government's tax powers in the event of no deal.

With the likelihood of a disruptive "no-deal" Brexit rising, the European Union is looking at how Brexit might be postponed, and pro-EU campaigners are testing ways Britain could hold another referendum after voters narrowly backed leaving in 2016.

Speaking to MPs earlier, May said: "The only way to avoid no deal is to vote for the deal".

But, combined with a vote late on Tuesday when the government lost on the finance bill, the defeats underline May's precarious position in parliament.

"We are doing everything we can to win the meaningful vote that happens on Tuesday", the spokesperson said.

The Commons amendment, tabled by Labour's Yvette Cooper, is created to limit the Treasury's ability to spend money on no-deal preparations, without the explicit consent of Parliament.

The EU Withdrawal Act states that the Government must a statement of intent within 21 days of a defeat, meaning Mr Grieve's victory has sped up the timetable and hacked into the time available to Mrs May to secure concessions from Brussels before MPs vote again.

The reports emerged as Theresa May faces an uphill struggle to get her Brexit deal approved by the Commons.

May has warned that if MPs reject her deal, Britain would still leave the European Union on March 29, with or without any new arrangements.

"My understanding is the motion is amendable, I'm clear in my mind about that", he said.

It is opposed by a hardline group of MPs from her own Tory Party, as well as their Democratic Unionist Party allies.

A senior Downing Street source said they were "surprised" Mr Bercow permitted the division as ministers had received advice the business motion was unamendable.

May's fellow Conservative Party colleagues who support a hard Brexit, which would entail cutting nearly all ties to the EU.

Ian Murray, the Labour MP for Edinburgh South and a leading supporter of the People's Vote campaign, said: "The threat of a no deal Brexit has cynically used by the government for many months as part of their campaign to bully and intimidate Parliament into voting for a bad deal that would leave us worse off and offers less control".

"We're all focused in the government on winning parliamentary support in the vote that's coming up next week", he told reporters as he arrived at the meeting in Brussels.

"I've been in contact with European leaders. about MPs' concerns", she said.



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