MPs defeat May government over no-deal Brexit

Britain's battle over Brexit resumes ahead of big vote

Britain's beleaguered prime minister Theresa May suffered her first - but unlikely to be her last - Parliamentary defeat of 2019 when an amendment to a finance bill that which had cross-party support in the House of Commons was passed by 303 to 296 votes.

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 things stand May does not appear to have the numbers to win the support of enough lawmakers for the Brexit deal that she forged with the European Union last November. The vote is scheduled to take place next Tuesday.

There were turbulent scenes in parliament when some in May's Conservative Party accused the speaker of bias.

British MPs will resume their parliamentary debate on Brexit on Wednesday, with a vote on the deal expected on Monday or Tuesday next week.

Lawmakers voted 308-297 in favour of demanding the government come up with an alternative plan within three working days after Tuesday's vote, rather than a planned 21-day limit, a largely symbolic vote aimed at putting pressure on the government.

But the Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) said it would not support the deal unless May dropped a part known as the backstop which is aimed at preventing a hard border between the British province and EU-member Ireland if both sides fail to clinch a future trade deal. One of Labour's top policy team said this would take place immediately, but a spokesman said the timing would be decided as events unfold.

However, Corbyn said May was offering just "window dressing", and predicted the deal would be voted down.

"Article 50 will not be extended".

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Mr Grieve had tabled the amendment Tuesday night after pro-EU MPs had passed an amendment to the Finance Bill created to prohibit spending on No Deal preparations without authorisation from Parliament - which is dominated by Remainers and largely opposed to No Deal.

Ahead of the debate, former liberal MEP and respected constitutional expert Andrew Duff has put forward new proposals for what he calls "a judicious tweaking" of the political declaration document.

The suggestions did little to win over the DUP.

"The only thing which could swing the DUP round is if the backstop as it applies to the United Kingdom as a whole or to Northern Ireland specifically were removed from this agreement", said Sammy Wilson, the DUP's Brexit spokesman.

May postponed the vote last month because of intense opposition from MPs, promising further clarifications from Brussels.

May told lawmakers that Parliament had a choice: back her deal or risk Britain leaving the bloc without a deal, a scenario many businesses say would disrupt supply chains and hinder investment in the world's fifth largest economy.

The de-facto deputy Prime Minister, David Lidington, said the only way to avoid a disruptive no-deal "is for Parliament to endorse and ratify a deal".

"I don't think that the British public are served by fantasies about magical alternative deals that are somehow going to sort of spring out of a cupboard in Brussels", Lidington told the BBC.

Several MPs challenged the Speaker with points of order, with Tory Brexiteer Peter Bone asking for an explanation as to why, when he had attempted to propose an amendment to the same motion, he had been refused by the Table Office, saying "I was told it would be totally out of order and there would be no other amendments filed".

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