In an unusual bid, MPs take over Brexit process from Theresa May

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But supporters of Sir Oliver Letwin's amendment said they did not trust the government to give MPs a say on the full range of Brexit options.

"This amendment instead upends the balance between our democratic institutions and sets a risky, unpredictable precedent for the future".

In a letter posted on his website, Mr Brine - who had served as public health minister since June 2017 - said he felt compelled to do "the honourable thing" and step down so he could back what is known as the Letwin Amendment in the Commons last night (25 March).

"No Brexit" must not happen", May said.

Speaking in the Commons for the first time since agreeing with the European Union to delay the UK's departure date, May warned those Brexiters holding out for a no-deal outcome that parliament would move to thwart their plans.

Theresa May has presented a deal to Parliament that has been rejected by all sides of the House twice already and yet still she shows no willingness to listen to anyone else.

The three ministers who quit were among 30 Conservative MPs to defy the whips and support the cross-party amendment which was passed by 329 to 302 - a majority of 27 - in another humiliating reverse for Mrs May.

It is likely that not all amendments will be selected for debate by Commons Speaker John Bercow, and some of those selected may not be pushed to a vote.

The Prime Minister's fragile authority suffered another blow as three ministers quit to back a Commons amendment enabling MPs to take control of Commons business to stage a series of "indicative votes" on alternatives to her deal.

Hancock says lawmakers should support the prime minister's agreement because "the best way through this impasse is the one deal that's been negotiated with the European Union".

How MPs take the process forward after the indicative votes is expected to set another parliamentary precedent.


Lidington added that he hoped lawmakers would have another opportunity to vote on May's Brexit deal later this week, but the deal still lacks the numbers needed to pass it.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn also warned the Government must "take this process seriously".

There have been reports that she had suggested resigning if that persuaded enough doubters in her party to back her deal.

The European Union, when it agreed an extension to the Brexit process last Friday, said the United Kingdom could leave on May 22 if it passed the deal by the end of this week.

Previously, the Cabinet pledged to "engage constructively" with the process, but May said she would not be bound by the results.

He told the ConservativeHome podcast: "Whether we are there yet is another matter but I have always thought that no deal is better than Mrs May's deal but Mrs May's deal is better than not leaving at all".

"Even for colleagues of mine who want to go down the no-deal route, it's clear the House of Commons is not going to let that happen", Hancock said, a warning to the pro-Brexit wing of the Tory party.

What is it? Sign up to the first part of May's deal - the withdrawal agreement - and then negotiate a customs union with the EU.

And anti-Brexit campaigners haven't abandoned the idea of a new referendum on remaining in the EU.

May's divorce deal was defeated by 149 votes in Parliament on March 12 and by 230 votes on January 15.

Another prominent Brexiter, former foreign minister Boris Johnson, was also edging toward backing May's deal, a reporter from the Daily Telegraph said on Tuesday.

Anti-EU supporters of "hard Brexit" still believe that rejecting it can lead to a no-deal departure from the bloc as soon as April 12.

  • Tracy Klein