Brexit plan B debate will last only 90 minutes, says No 10

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

Tory rebels joined the opposition to defeat Theresa May for the second time in 24 hours after a key decision by the Speaker of the House.

Instead, she has pressed ahead with a vote she looks set to lose after failing to win over her nominal Northern Irish allies.

When the Prime Minister made a decision to delay the meaningful vote on her Brexit deal by a month because she was facing a historic defeat, with more than 100 Tories ready to vote it down, she pledged to gain legally binding assurances from the EU.

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.

The blow to the Prime Minister came less than a day after Conservative rebels defied the orders of their party to push through an amendment created to frustrate a no-deal Brexit.

The news comes the same week the government suffered two humiliating defeats in the Commons.

May's de-facto deputy said it was a delusion to think the government would be able to negotiate a new divorce deal if parliament voted down hers. It states that if May loses the vote next week, she must explain her next steps within three parliamentary sitting days - by the latest, Monday January 21. "And so I can tell the house that in the event that our future relationship or alternative arrangements are not ready by the end of 2020, parliament will have a vote on whether to seek to extend the implementation period, or bring the backstop into effect".

The Conservative MP Mark Francois, a vice-chair of the pro-Brexit European Research Group, said: "I have never known any occasion where the Speaker has overruled a motion of the House of Commons ... why are you overriding a motion of the house?"

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.

Labour has said it will table a motion of no confidence in the government if Mrs May's deal is voted down.

"Whilst this amendment only applies to the Finance Bill, and whilst there are still a wide range of different views on the best way forward, it shows that enough MPs (lawmakers) are ready to come together in a sensible way to oppose a chaotic No Deal".

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.

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.

Members of May´s own Conservative party led the revolt amid fears that the current timetable takes Britain too close to crashing out of the European Union on March 29 with no deal at all.

May called off a vote on her deal in December after admitting that it "would be rejected by a significant margin" if MPs voted on it.

On the first of five days of debate on the deal, former worldwide development secretary Andrew Mitchell said: "I've been astonished that she would bring back to the Commons a deal she knows she has absolutely no chance whatsoever to get through, and also with apparently no plan B".

With less than three months until Britain leaves the EU, May is struggling to win approval for her Brexit deal.

"The only way we can move forward if the Government's deal is not acceptable to Parliament is for Parliament to engage with Government and find a solution, which is what I am trying to do".

Party leader Jeremy Corbyn said: "The delay to the meaningful vote has achieved nothing beyond wasting a month". The vote, which saw 20 legislators from 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.

But many lawmakers, and businesses, say that could cause economic turmoil.

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