UK's May halts revolt over Brexit trade bill

Boris Johnson quit as foreign secretary in protest at Theresa May’s plans for post Brexit relations with the EU

A spokesman for the prime minister said the amendments were "consistent" with the White Paper policy document which developed the Chequers plan.

The amendment would have required the government to try to negotiate a customs union arrangement with the EU if, by January 21, 2019, it had failed to negotiate a frictionless free trade deal with the bloc.

Tuesday's legislation was technical in nature - focusing on converting trade deals between the European Union and third countries into bilateral deals with Britain, and was not originally meant to define new trade policy.

Fresh from her pyrrhic victory yesterday, the Prime Minister is to go head-to-head with Remainers over another Brexit bill - this time on trade - and her decision to start MPs' summer holiday on Thursday this week, instead of Tuesday next week.

Labour MP John Mann said some of his colleagues could back May's proposals.

May now faces rebellion from the pro-EU flank of her Conservative party, who are outraged by her caving in to these harder Brexiteer demands.

He was joined by Heidi Allen, Kenneth Clarke, Jonathan Djanogly, Dominic Grieve, Stephen Hammond, Phillip Lee, Nicky Morgan, Bob Neill, Antoinette Sandbach, Anna Soubry and Sarah Wollaston. The vote was lost by four.

"But in practice having looked through the detail now it just won't and I can not see how, going forward, the common rulebook will be workable in practice".

It gives the government the power to build new trade relationships around the world after the United Kingdom leaves the EU, and MPs who support staying in the EU's customs union are seeking to change its wording.

And the gloomy forecast of the furious Government minister I bumped into as he arrived to vote on the trade bill - that this Tory split will bring down the Government - will probably be proved to have been accurate as well.

When Labour candidate Faiza Shaheen claimed that the UK Government had "annoyed the EU", Ms Dorries fired back.

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The immediate assumption was that the Tory leadership is sending MPs away early to block attempts to challenge Theresa May's leadership with letters to the 1922 Committee chairman Sir Graham Brady demanding a contest.

"The Government's handling of Brexit over the past week has been an utter shambles", Mr Gardiner said.

One pro-EU ex-minister called it the "worst of all worlds", while eurosceptics said the strategy kept Britain too close to the bloc.

"Each day that Ministers waste arguing among themselves increases the risk of the United Kingdom crashing out of Europe without an agreement".

These make it extremely difficult for the United Kingdom to negotiate a viable solution for avoiding a hard border on the island on Ireland, where the EU's new external border should be after Brexit, and to which May committed to keeping it open.

The government avoided what would have been an embarrassing defeat, but the razor-thin margin reveals the fragility of May's support as she tries to find a way to move the complex Brexit process forward.

"Parliament is deeply divided on Brexit and the Government are struggling to get anything passed", said Ms Lucas.

"And if everyone has to put a second option, everyone's going to put the Chequers deal".

Connor Campbell, financial analyst at SpreadEx, said: "On the one hand it is odd the pound is in a decent mood, given that the "soft" Brexit plan agreed at Chequers is arguably in doubt following Davis's disappearing act".

A spokesman said: "As set out in the White Paper, the United Kingdom is seeking participation in the European Medicines Agency".

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