Theresa May suffers Brexit setback over no-deal scenario

Theresa May is back at work in Downing Street after her Christmas break

Theresa May is back at work in Downing Street after her Christmas break

MPs backed an amendment demanding the Government return within three sitting days with a new plan if it is defeated in next week's crunch vote on the Prime Minister's Brexit deal.

In a sign of the anger and division Brexit has sown among lawmakers, the motion prompted bad-tempered scenes in Parliament, as Conservatives accused Speaker John Bercow of contravening parliamentary convention by allowing a vote on the amendment.

British legislators have slashed the time Prime Minister Theresa May's government will have to formulate a plan B if her widely criticised Brexit deal is rejected in a crucial parliamentary vote next week.

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

"There is a question of extension of Article 50 and that may well be inevitable now given the position that we are in, but of course we can only seek it because the other 27 (member states) have to agree", he said.

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. But the bloc refuses to reopen the agreement, and opposition to the negotiated deal remains strong among British lawmakers.

UK Brexit minister Martin Callanan ruled out that prospect and said May would update MPs on Wednesday about the assurances over the backstop she is seeking from the EU.

Informing the House of the move, Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay accepted that it would not by itself win over the Tory rebels and DUP allies who are threatening to send the Prime Minister's deal to defeat next Tuesday.

It was drawn up by the Conservative former attorney general Dominic Grieve and forces a deadline on May if the deal is voted down as is predicted next Tuesday.

May has refused to retreat from her unpopular deal, which envisages close trading ties with the European Union after leaving in March.

Republican rebellion against Donald Trump's border wall shutdown stance gathers pace
Climate change threatens our planet... "We can call a national emergency because of the security of our country". There is no excuse for hurting millions of Americans over a policy difference.

He said: "I can be very clear that the government's policy is to leave on 29th March".

Mr Grieve's amendment was tabled against a Government motion detailing the timetable for the Brexit deal debate, which Tory MPs argued was "unamendable".

The vote, which saw 20 legislators from Mrs May's Conservative Party rebel and side with the Opposition, indicates that a majority in Parliament opposes leaving the European Union without an agreement and will try to stop it happening.

Under the EU's backstop proposal, Northern Ireland would have stayed in the single market and customs union while the rest of the United Kingdom withdraws, while Mrs May wanted Northern Ireland treated the same as the rest of the UK.

"It seems clear that May will lose the vote, the only real question is how much does she lose by", Usherwood added.

MPs have voted to further bind Theresa May's hands on Brexit - if she loses her deal next week - by 308 to 297.

"I am extremely concerned about the decision that was taken today", she said.

Pro-EU Conservative lawmaker Dominic Grieve, who proposed the measure, said it was meant to speed up decisions, to help avoid a no-deal Brexit and "the calamitous consequences that would follow on from it".

He said: "That sticker on the subject of Brexit happens to be affixed to or in the windscreen of my wife's vehicle, and I'm sure he wouldn't suggest for one moment that a wife is somehow the property or chattel of her husband".

Mrs May retorted: "The only way to avoid no-deal is to vote for the deal".

Latest News