Has Theresa May only delayed her Brexit defeat by a few days?

Theresa May and Sarah Wollaston

BBC•GETTYBrexit news Sarah Wollaston was put on the spot over how she would vote this week

Theresa May is to asks MPs to show unity this week as the Government's Brexit legislation returns to the Commons this week in a crucial vote.

The Prime Minister was forced to mollify different parts of her party - including those arch Brexiteers who would rather the United Kingdom crashed out of the European Union with no deal than the government agree to a soft Brexit, as well as rebellious Conservative MPs who want the public to have another vote on what Brexit will look like.

Phillip Lee's resignation came hours before British Prime Minister Theresa May faces crunch votes in parliament and a potential showdown with pro-EU rebels in her ruling party.

Chelmsford MP Vicky Ford, a former MEP who has frequently spoken out against Brexit, joined in the call for unity as she left the meeting. But there is going to be no binary choice of the deal on the table or no deal, with Parliament bypassed.

If the government avoids defeat, is Brexit a done deal?

The Government defeated the amendment by 324 votes to 298 after a late concession to a group of Tories led Dominic Grieve.

The former attorney general said: "The government agreed that the amendment raised an important issue, that the matter about the ability of Parliament to have a meaningful vote not just on the final deal but also on "no deal" had to be allowed".




In a day of drama, May's position seemed suddenly weaker when junior justice minister Phillip Lee, who has always been critical of the government's Brexit strategy, resigned and said he would vote against the government. It also attacked the unelected nature of the House of Lords (which traditionally scrutinizes laws passed to it by the elected lower chamber), linking it to a perceived attempt to frustrate the Brexit process.

But if the amendments being debated in Parliament this week force a change to the government's negotiating strategy, the wound could yet reopen.

A paper laying out the UK government position, due to be published this month, has been delayed because the Cabinet can not agree on a united stance.

He confirmed that ministers will seek to overturn 14 amendments which he said would undermine the goal of the Bill and fail to respect the result of the 2016 referendum.

May's government is divided between Brexit-backing ministers such as Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson who support a clean break with the European Union, and those such as Treasury chief Philip Hammond who want to keep closely aligned to the bloc, Britain's biggest trading partner.

But May won a key vote in parliament on Tuesday with a compromise on plans to give lawmakers a "meaningful" vote later this year on the terms of Britain's exit from the EU.

"I absolutely trust what the Prime Minister says to us", he told BBC Radio 4's PM programme.

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