British PM Theresa May loses key vote on Brexit procedure in parliament

Theresa May tells MPs 'see you next Tuesday' as Brexit vote confirmed

Several Conservative MPs accused Bercow of being biased, and there was speculation of an attempt to remove him from his post.

Downing Street had tried to see off the Grieve amendment by promising the PM would "seek to provide certainty quickly" if she loses the vote on her under-fire deal next week, as expected.

The prime minister has already pulled the vote once with defeat looming, and a loss for the government would plunge Britain into "uncharted territory", according to May, putting the whole process up for grabs.

MPs voted by 308-297 for an amendment that was tabled by Tory arch-rebel Dominic Grieve and backed by 16 other Conservatives, including former ministers Sir Oliver Letwin, Justine Greening and Ken Clarke.

"I realise there are a few of my colleagues who believe that if the Government's deal is rejected we should simply do nothing and leave the European Union on March 29 with no deal at all and with all, to my mind, the calamitous consequences that would follow on from it", he told the BBC.

The Speaker denied Francois's claim he was "overriding" a motion of the Commons by allowing the amendment, prompting the Tory backbencher to claim Bercow was engaging in "sophistry".

However, that could be less likely with the government's defeat on Tuesday. But the bloc refuses to reopen the agreement, and opposition to the negotiated deal remains strong from both pro-Brexit and pro-EU lawmakers in Britain.

The EU Withdrawal Act states that the Government must a statement of intent within 21 days of a defeat, meaning Mr Grieve's victory has sped up the timetable and hacked into the time available to Mrs May to secure concessions from Brussels before MPs vote again.

"I think he stepped way over the mark out today he's broken with parliamentary precedent".

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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.

European leaders are struggling to find a way to help Theresa May convince MPs to back the Brexit deal, with one minister warning the block could do "nothing more".

"These discussions have shown that further clarification over the backstop is possible and those talks will continue over the next few days".

The suggestions did little to win over the DUP.

But the DUP, which is propping up Mrs May's minority government through a confidence and supply agreement, immediately rejected the offer.

Under the EU's backstop proposal, Northern Ireland would have stayed in the single market and customs union while the rest of the United Kingdom withdraws, while Mrs May wanted Northern Ireland treated the same as the rest of the UK.

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

Some investors and major banks believe May's deal will be defeated on Tuesday but that eventually it will be approved.

May's de-facto deputy cautioned lawmakers that it was a delusion to think the government would be able to negotiate a new divorce deal with the European Union if parliament voted down her deal.

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