Published: Thu, January 10, 2019
Science | By Michele Flores

Theresa May suffers Commons defeat over Brexit plan B

Theresa May suffers Commons defeat over Brexit plan B

The Commons defeat is the second in the space of 24 hours for the government on Brexit.

With the country on a knife-edge, MPs will vote next Tuesday on the agreement that May negotiated with the EU, but Brexit supporters within her party looked set to rebel over fears it could tie Britain indefinitely to some kind of customs union with the bloc.

The amendment, by a pro-European Tory, would require May to return to Parliament within three days - rather than 21 - to debate the implications of not having a Brexit deal, if the prime minister's proposals are voted down next Tuesday.

A Government source speaking to The Times said Bercow allowed the amendment despite Commons clerks, whose job it is to advise the Speaker on Parliamentary procedure, telling him that amendments should not have been allowed.

Lawmakers approved a motion saying that if Parliament rejects May's divorce deal, the government must come up with a "Plan B" within three working days.

On Tuesday, the government suffered another defeat when MPs voted for an amendment which seeks to restrict the government's freedom to make "no deal" tax changes without the "explicit consent of parliament".

"The government doesn't have a reliable majority to push its agenda through and suggests this vote next week is going to be even harder than we already knew it was going to be", he said.

But opposition remains strong from both pro-Brexit and pro-EU U.K. lawmakers.

Environment Secretary Michael Gove told Cabinet that those considering rejecting Mrs May's agreement in the hope of securing a better deal were like swingers in their mid-50s waiting for film star Scarlett Johansson to turn up on a date.

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

It is widely expected that Prime Minister Theresa May's EU Withdrawal Agreement will be voted down next week, which would leave No Deal as the default Brexit option.

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On Tuesday evening, Mrs May lost a vote on an amendment to a finance bill, which was created to limit the government's powers in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Mrs May's office said the deal was in the national interest but if MPs disagreed, the government would "respond quickly".

Conservative MP David Morris accused Bercow of behaving like "Oliver Cromwell, the Lord Protector" - a stinging insult considering Cromwell's treatment of Parliament.

Mrs May's attempts to win over MPs were further thwarted on Wednesday after the DUP dismissed new assurances over the controversial backstop element of the withdrawal agreement as "meaningless".

Groups of MPs have raised several options, including a Norway-style arrangement that would see Britain remain outside EU institutions, such as the European Court of Justice, but within the European single market, which provides for the free movement of goods, services and people.

The timescale was shortened thanks to a successful amendment to the Commons motion on Mrs May's Brexit deal pushed by Conservative Remainer Dominic Grieve.

With less than three months before Britain is due to quit the European Union, parliament began a five-day battle over May's Brexit plan with a show of force - undermining her preferred timetable if lawmakers vote down her blueprint next Tuesday.

As for a snap election, if Corbyn and his Labour party fails to oust May's Tory party, it'll only serve to reinforce May's position in Brexit negotiations and that means in all likelihood the United Kingdom could be heading towards some form of deal with the European Union after a series of delays.

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

Business secretary and Kent MP Greg Clark says uncertainty over Brexit is causing mounting alarm amongst companies and investors in the UK.

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