Britain's Theresa May wins key vote, but loses a junior minister

MPs will spend a total of 12 hours debating and voting on 14 Lords amendments to the EU Withdrawal Bill - six hours on Tuesday and six hours on Wednesday.

Tory MPs are to discuss with ministers what will happen in the event of a no-deal Brexit - amid calls for Theresa May to honour "assurances" to them. That has potentially seismic consequences for the protracted and increasingly messy split from Brussels.

Leading Conservative rebels welcomed the "important concessions" by the government, but insisted that ministers must follow through on their concession or face a defeat when the bill returns to the House of Commons later this month.

Conservative Brexit campaigners accused those in the party who indicated they would vote against the government of not respecting the referendum result.

The Lib Dems, who identify strongly as an anti-Brexit party to the point of pushing for a second referendum and running by-elections in Remain-friendly seats on that platform, opposed the Government. The government fears a weakened negotiating position.

These were the words of a minister expecting to win the vote.

The most contentious was the bid to give Parliament the power to tell the government what to do if the Brexit deal was voted down or no agreement was reached.

The upshot of the shift may well be as dramatic as the parliamentary procedure is incomprehensible.

The Lords amendment on a "meaningful vote" for MPs was defeated in the Commons by 324 to 298.

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If agreed, ministers would have until the end of November this year to secure a Brexit deal before seeking the approval of parliament.

"We have now removed every incentive from the European Union for doing a deal by the end of November", one senior United Kingdom government official said. "How can Boris [Johnson, the foreign secretary] and the ERG [the European Research Group of Euroskeptic MPs] live with this?"

Earlier, May appeared to have also stemmed a rebellion over her commitment to leaving the EU's customs union which will transform Britain's trading relationships for decades to come.

Brexit Secretary David Davis and Chief EU negotiator Michel Barnier.

Brexit Secretary David Davis has warned Conservative Party rebels that proposals to give Parliament the power to direct negotiations with the European Union are simply a tactic to overturn the results of the 2016 referendum that mandated Britain's departure from the bloc.

"We will be talking to the government immediately after this in order to find a common way forward".

But government officials admitted that the concession does constrain their freedom in the Brexit talks. The government earlier had said it would not support that amendment. Yes, it's a significant compromise but we live to fight another day. 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.

Labour said May had been forced to avoid a "humiliating defeat" and "to enter negotiations with her backbenchers".

The new amendment will be written up at a later stage with detailed plans and concessions.

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