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

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

"If the prime minister's Brexit deal is defeated next week, she must return to parliament as soon as possible and give MPs a real say on what happens next".

In Brussels, European Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas repeated that the Brexit deal would not be reopened.

The move by Corbyn - himself criticised for his failure to push for a second referendum - came after the First Minister of Scotland and leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP) Nicola Sturgeon said that she would announce her preferred timetable for a second referendum on Scottish independence "when we get to the end of this phase of the Brexit process".

A vote, initially slated for mid-December, is now scheduled for January 15 - and the government still looks likely to lose.

The vote, which saw 20 legislators from May's Conservative Party rebel and side with the opposition, indicates that a majority in Parliament opposes leaving the European Union without an agreement and will try to stop it happening. There are also a number of lawmakers who have said they will vote against the deal because they want another referendum on Britain's membership of the EU.

The prospect of the United Kingdom leaving the bloc with no agreement on the terms of its withdrawal or future trading relations has raised fears over possible supply chain disruptions and blocked ports, prompting companies and the government to ramp up their contingency planning in recent weeks.

The blow to the Prime Minister came less than a day after Conservative rebels defied the orders of their party to push through an amendment created to frustrate a no-deal Brexit.

Some Brexit supporters say there is nothing to be feared from this.

Several MPs challenged the Speaker with points of order, with Tory Brexiteer Peter Bone asking for an explanation as to why, when he had attempted to propose an amendment to the same motion, he had been refused by the Table Office, saying "I was told it would be totally out of order and there would be no other amendments filed".

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But many disagree, and more than 200 MPs from all parties have written to May urging her "to agree a mechanism that would ensure a "no-deal" Brexit could not take place".

They reportedly did so by backing an amendment which would limit spending on no-deal prepared unless allowed by parliament.

The government previously had 21 days to report back to Parliament.

Some 89 lorries were involved in two test runs of the 20-mile lorry park operation, but the Road Haulage Association's chief executive, Richard Burnett, described the exercise as "too little too late", adding, "This process should have started nine months ago".

"The EU is mightily puzzled by the British obsession with the backstop - which, after all, were it ever to be implemented, would put Northern Ireland into a uniquely privileged partnership with the EU".

As part of a series of commitments created to shore up the support of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), the paper says that Northern Ireland will be given "a strong voice and role in the backstop process".

It also said it would accept a change to its Brexit plans which, if passed, would mean that parliament would have the chance to express its disapproval about entering the backstop, if the need to do so arose, without compromising the deal.

The assurances are expected to be delivered in an exchange of letters on the eve of next Tuesday's vote - but the European Union has not so far found a form of words which would provide the game changing boost needed by May to win the vote.

Her proposal would see both sides adopt a December 2021 target for agreeing the new trade arrangements.

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