MPs defeat May, urge her to rule out 'no deal' Brexit

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

London: British MPs voted Wednesday to force Prime Minister Theresa May to quickly set out an alternative plan for Brexit if she loses a crucial vote on her European Union withdrawal deal next week, in a second parliamentary defeat in 24 hours.

There was a major row in the Commons over whether Wednesday´s amendment could even be put to a vote, with Speaker John Bercow apparently disregarding the advice of his own clerk that it could not.

"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".

A majority of members of Parliament oppose a no-deal Brexit, but it remains the default option if May's deal is rejected.

That deal includes a 585-page withdrawal agreement that outlines the terms of Britain's departure, and a 26-page declaration that sets out a framework for future negotiations on a broad agreement covering trade and a host of other issues.

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 also said it would accept a change to its Brexit plans which, if passed, would mean that parliament would have the chance to express its disapproval about entering the backstop, if the need to do so arose, without compromising the deal.

Earlier on Tuesday, May called on lawmakers to vote for her deal, suggesting she was confident of getting further assurances from the European Union to ease their concerns and offering Northern Ireland more control over the "backstop" arrangement to prevent the return of a hard border with European Union member Ireland.

Later, the former Tory minister Crispin Blunt said many MPs had come to the conclusion the "referee is no longer neutral" and urged Mr Bercow to "reflect" on his position.

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MPs voted 308-297 on Wednesday in favour of demanding the government come up with an alternative plan within three working days after Tuesday's vote, rather than a planned 21-day limit, in a non-binding motion that nonetheless piles pressure on the government.

Mr Bercow said he had made an "honest judgement" in the interests of MPs.

Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd told the cabinet that the public would take a "dim view" of government if it settled for a disorderly Brexit and suggested it would make the United Kingdom less safe.

Today in a keynote speech to Labour members in Yorkshire, Jeremy Corbyn will say the most practical and democratic way to "break the deadlock" at Westminster over Brexit is to hold another general election.

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

The Leader of the House Andrea Leadsom said there were "some concerns" about his decision and asked him to confirm it was taken with "full advice" from the Commons clerk Sir David Natzler.

Mr Grieve said his amendment was an attempt to "accelerate the process" if the vote was lost so as to avoid the prospects of a no-deal Brexit.

"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.

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