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UK lawmakers clash over Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal

10 January 2019

The main impact is to transfer significant power to MPs to determine what kind of Brexit or no-Brexit the United Kingdom will have because - as and when - Theresa May loses the vote on her Brexit plan next week, she will have to report to parliament in three working days on what comes next.

There were angry scenes in the Commons on Wednesday when Mr Bercow agreed to allow a vote on an amendment to a government motion tabled by Brexit rebel Dominic Grieve.

The British government was bringing its little-loved Brexit deal back to Parliament on Wednesday, a month after postponing a vote on the agreement to stave off near-certain defeat.

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

With the likelihood of a disruptive "no-deal" Brexit rising, the European Union is looking at how Brexit might be postponed, and pro-EU campaigners are testing ways Britain could hold another referendum after voters narrowly backed leaving in 2016.

The Northern Ireland Assembly could be given power to stop new Brexit laws coming into force under plans due to be published today, David Lidington, Prime Minister Theresa May's de facto deputy, said in broadcast interviews Wednesday.

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While a majority of MPs may vote to take a "no deal" Brexit off the table, that would not legally oblige Mrs May's government to do so.

"We are doing everything we can to win the meaningful vote that happens on Tuesday", the spokesperson said.

"We are talking about 79 days until potentially crashing out of Europe without a deal - should our focus not be on the detail and the arguments about the process in this place, but getting on with a plan B if Parliament decides the government's plan is not the one for the people?".

It is the second setback faced by the prime minister within 24 hours, inflicted by a cross-party group of MPs who want to block a no-deal Brexit.

The setback for the government came after a day in which senior ministers spoke out about the risks of exiting the European Union without any form of withdrawal agreement.

MPs have backed measures created to thwart preparations for a no-deal Brexit, by defeating the government in the House of Commons.

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May, who is struggling to win approval for her Brexit plan, previously had 21 days to report back to the Commons in the event of a defeat next Tuesday.

"My understanding is the motion is amendable, I'm clear in my mind about that", Bercow said. He also stated that MPs would have to approve any decision to implement the backstop.

May is also seeking assurances on the operation of the backstop from European leaders, which she hopes to deliver before the vote next week, although they say they will not reopen the deal.

A senior Downing Street source said they were "surprised" Mr Bercow permitted the division as ministers had received advice the business motion was unamendable. "The only way to avoid no deal is to vote for the deal", came the inevitable reply from May.

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.

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UK lawmakers clash over Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal