Five things we learned from the Brexit debate

Image      MPs are due to vote on the PM's EU exit agreement in the next 10 days

Image MPs are due to vote on the PM's EU exit agreement in the next 10 days

MPs backed an amendment demanding the government return within three sitting days with a new plan if it is defeated in next week's crunch vote on the prime minister's Brexit deal. "These discussions have shown that further clarification on the backstop is possible, and those talks will continue over the next few days".

Nevertheless the vote will be seen as another blow to Mrs May's authority as she struggles to win support for her Withdrawal Agreement.

Mr Leonard said: "It's not a matter of campaigning for or against Brexit".

He has re-framed the Brexit debate by saying it's "a version" of her deal or - probably - no Brexit, because he thinks parliament would find a way to block a no-deal Brexit and won't be able to rally around an alternative Brexit.

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.

Wednesday's vote was the second defeat of the government in less than 24 hours, as a result of pro-Remain Tories blocking with the opposition parties.

Britain's de-facto deputy prime minister, David Lidington, said politicians must abandon "fantasies about magical alternative deals that are somehow going to sort of spring out of a cupboard in Brussels".

She would then have a further seven days to put a motion to the House of Commons, which MPs could amend to try to direct the government's strategy.

"Brexit paralysis potentially leading to no Brexit is something I think would be incredibly damaging for the long-term future of this country".

May's spokesman said the government's advice was that parliament could not change its so-called business motion which set out the procedure for the Brexit vote, but played down the impact of the vote for its overall plans.

The development came after 17 Tory rebels helped pass Mr Grieve's amendment by 308 votes to 297.

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"That is what I have tried to do and what I will go on doing".

Speaking on the BBC's Good Morning Scotland programme on Friday, Mr Leonard, the Scottish Labour leader, was asked directly about what the party's stance would be if a general election was to be called.

"I don't like the prospect of a no deal".

"And every effort I think needs to be made between now and Tuesday, Tuesday afternoon perhaps, to ensure this important issue can be resolved satisfactorily".

"I realize 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", Grieve told local media after the vote.

Amid at times chaotic scenes in the Commons, prominent Brexiteer Crispin Blunt claimed there was now an "unshakeable conviction" among many that Mr Bercow was no longer a neutral referee.

He said: "If we have a guarantee that works on workers' rights and conditions, that's significant".

"But we now know from Labour's own front bench that their official Brexit position is bollocks".

- What did Mr Bercow say?

His comments shortly after foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt said "legally binding assurances" over the Irish border backstop were needed to win Tuesday's vote.

In a shift of tone, apparently aimed at winning over Brexiteers who are determined to vote Mrs May's deal down, Mr Hunt warned that defeat for the government on Tuesday would not lead to them getting the kind of Brexit they wanted.

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