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

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

The defeat highlights May's weak position as leader of a minority government, a divided party, and a critical parliament just days before she is due to hold a pivotal vote on whether to approve the Brexit deal she has negotiated with the EU.

On Wednesday, Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said the United Kingdom may need to request a postponement of Brexit day if deadlock in Westminster continues and the risk of the United Kingdom leaving on March 29 without a deal becomes more likely.

British MPs voted on Wednesday (Jan 9) to force Prime Minister Theresa May to quickly set out an alternative plan for Brexit if she loses a crucial vote on her European Union withdrawal deal next week, in a second parliamentary defeat in 24 hours.

He urged May to call a General Election if her deal gets voted down.

Its objective was to prove there was a parliamentary majority to oppose no deal, and the cross-party group of rebels who organised Tuesday's defeat said they could seek to amend any and every piece of legislation the government brings to parliament between now and March.

She is pressing ahead with a vote that she looks set to lose, after failing to win over her nominal Northern Irish allies.

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The Government would remain under an global obligation to keep the border open, and it is understood ministers would be expected to seek alternative arrangements, possibly involving the use of new technology, within the 12-month deadline.

The House voted by 308 to 297 in favour of the amendment tabled by the pro-Remain Tory MP Dominic Grieve with the support of other Conservative rebels.

An alliance of governing Conservative and opposition legislators has dealt May two defeats in as many days - symbolic setbacks that suggest a power shift from the executive to the legislature.

A previous amendment by Grieve, voted through by the Commons before Christmas, means any statement that follows a defeat is in itself amendable - thus allowing MPs to put forward their own alternatives for the future of the Brexit process.

The government was expecting to have 21 days to come up with a "plan B" for Brexit if, as widely expected, Mrs May's deal is voted down.

Susan Martin, one of the founding members of the Nottingham and Nottinghamshire People's Vote Campaign said: "As a raft of independent assessments - and even the Government themselves - have now acknowledged, the Government's proposed Brexit would severely harm our economy, our NHS, and our standing in the world".

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He said: "No 10 is trying to give the impression that no deal remains possible but, after many years of knowing the Prime Minister, I do not believe that she would willingly take Britain out of the European Union without a deal".

"I disagree with that, and so I think do the vast majority of Members of Parliament".

But many lawmakers, and businesses, say that could cause economic turmoil.

"It is my strong view that we need to come together".

May is also still seeking assurances on the operation of the backstop from European leaders, which she hopes to deliver before the vote next week.

Mr Bercow confirmed he consulted the clerk and officials, saying the advice was given to him "privately and that's absolutely proper".

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These assurances are set to be delivered to lawmakers before they vote, although not before they start their debate on Wednesday. Lawmakers are also taking legislative action to try to prevent "no deal".

During the speech Mrs Hodgson spoke about the abuse that some MPs have been receiving, including some directed at her in recent days and set out her reasons for voting against the Prime Minister's deal when it is brought before the House next week.