May losing control over Brexit process after two defeats in Parliament

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

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

If Prime Minister Theresa May's Withdrawal Agreement deal is rejected by MPs in a crunch vote next Tuesday, the Government will have just three sitting days - rather than the previously outlined three weeks - to come back to Parliament with alternative proposals.

Wednesday's decision came as MPs began five days of debate on May's deal and is the latest example of legislators seeking to tie the government's hands over Brexit, with less than three months to go before the United Kingdom leaves the European Union on March 29.

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.

"That is what I have tried to do and what I will go on doing".

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.

He was "not setting himself up against the government but championing the rights of the House of Commons", adding that if people wanted to vote against the amendment they could.

"The appropriate time to table a motion of no confidence in the government is when the government loses its key legislation and no longer commands a majority in the House of Commons".

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.

The Prime Minister offered MPs new assurances that Parliament will be able to exercise control over the controversial European Union "backstop" if they back her Brexit deal in a crunch vote next week.

Hinting at one path of action MPs could try and force the prime minister down, Sir Keir told MPs: "There is a question of the extension of article 50, which may well be inevitable now, given the position that we are in, but of course we can only seek it, because the other 27 [EU member states] have to agree".

"The work to secure those assurances is ongoing", her spokesman said, adding that the prime minister hoped to have something to offer MPs before next week's vote.

Effectively this constrains the government's ability to act to keep its taxation system working smoothly if it pursues a no-deal Brexit against the wishes of a majority in parliament.

"It shows that there is no majority in Parliament, the Cabinet or the country for crashing out of the European Union without an agreement", opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn of the Labour Party said.

"When I became an MP three years ago I was determined that I would not become part of the establishment".

The latest parliamentary fireworks come after the anti no-deal MPs defeated the government on Tuesday evening, in a significant show of parliamentary strength against what they feel would be a "cliff-edge" withdrawal from the EU.

When word got round about Mr Bercow's decision, incandescent rage spread through the Government and along the Conservative benches.

The amendment was tabled by Labour MP Yvette Cooper and former Tory cabinet minister Nicky Morgan in an effort to demonstrate the strength of opposition to no deal.

Commons leader Andrea Leadsom noted there were "some concerns" about Bercow's decision and challenged him on claims he had overruled the most senior Commons official, clerk Sir David Natzler, in making his decision.

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