Defence minister resigns as crucial Brexit vote clears Commons

British Prime Minister Reshuffles Her Cabinet

A full-blown three-month contest would produce a new prime minister - and potentially an entirely different approach to Brexit - just weeks before the crunch Brussels summit in October.

The size of the threat should become clear on Monday when lawmakers vote on amendments to legislation on the government's post-Brexit customs regime, with leading eurosceptics set to vote in favor of amendments that May opposes and back their own proposals to toughen up her exit plan. But instead of facing them down and fuelling tensions, the government accepted their four amendments.

The amendments to the Taxation (Cross-border Trade) Bill have been proposed by arch-eurosceptic Jacob Rees-Mogg.

But by hardening the language to emphasise that the future collection of duties and taxes by Britain and the European Union be on a reciprocal basis, some lawmakers feared that Brexit supporters may have made May's plan less sellable to the bloc.

Parliament voted 318-285 to pass the bill. Further tests will come as the Trade Bill is debated on Tuesday.

For now, May's plans appeared still largely on track.

The government announced earlier it was backing the amendment, tabled by Brexiteer Tories.

No 10 then argued that that European Union had only ruled out collecting United Kingdom duties and tariffs at its border, and it would be necessary to have other reciprocal financial systems with the European Union to refund businesses in the event that there were differing customs arrangements between Britain and the 27-country bloc.

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Pro-EU Tory Phillip Lee, who quit as a minister over Brexit, condemned any thought of an earlier break as "shameful" at a "crucial time".

The parliamentary recess will be brought forward by five days from next Tuesday to Thursday, leaving her Tory critics with little time to organise a coup against her.

"I would not have gone through all the work that I did to ensure that we reached that agreement only to see it changed in some way through these Bills", she told MPs.

The Chequers agreement has already led to the resignations of high-profile cabinet members David Davis and Boris Johnson.

Britain's Education Secretary Justine Greening arrives in 10 Downing Street, London, Britain October 24, 2017. She branded the deal "a fudge". "It's the worst of both worlds".

She now argues a referendum should "give the public a first and second preference vote, allowing a consensus finally to be found".

The amendments could be used as a show of strength by the Brexiteers, who are furious at the Chequers plan, but there were signs at Westminster that Mrs May could be prepared to compromise in an effort to avert a damaging blow to her authority.

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