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Brexit Bulletin: Labour divided over Corbyn's unicorn-powered trade strategy

Brexit Bulletin: Labour divided over Corbyn's unicorn-powered trade strategy

Theresa May's landmark Brexit legislation returns to the House of Commons on Tuesday, with the 15 amendments added to it by the upper House of Lords mostly created to keep closer ties to the European Union and give Parliament more power over the divorce process.

The disagreement centres on whether the government agreed to consider a specific clause of the rebel proposal that would hand parliament control of the Brexit process if ministers are unable to strike an exit deal by February 15, 2019.

On Wednesday, parliament will consider a challenge to May's commitment to leave the EU's single market and customs union, which will transform Britain's future trading relationships for many years to come.

Some lawmakers say this is what they were promised; the government is less clear and has made statements apparently to the contrary. The government says leaving the customs union will free the country to strike trade deals around the world.

That means that the prospect of a "no deal" Brexit is becoming increasingly unlikely. Part B said that if no deal with the European Union was reached by 30 November 2018, the government would have to come to parliament and explain exactly what would happen next.

Conservative former minister Anna Soubry said the abuse of MPs who speak out against the government's Brexit policy "simply has to stop".

Potential rebels fell into line after Mr Buckland said ministers were ready to "engage positively" with their concerns before the Bill returns to the Upper House next Monday.

Five Labour MPs have resigned from frontbench roles in a blow to Jeremy Corbyn over a key Brexit vote, the Labour party has announced. Just hours earlier, Downing Street had signalled the prime minister had no intention of accepting Grieve's compromise amendment to the European Union withdrawal bill, tabled by the former attorney general and aimed at ensuring ministers can't "crash out of the European Union by ministerial fiat", as he called it.

Anna Soubry and Nicky Morgan

Lee resigns despite a last-minute plea by May to her party for unity on the issue. If confirmed, the move represents a dramatic climbdown from Mrs May's original plan to offer MPs a "take it or leave it" vote to accept the withdrawal agreement or leave the European Union without a deal.

"We must under all circumstances respect the result of the referendum", Brexit Secretary David Davis told lawmakers as he opened the debate.

The Lords amendment would have given parliament the power to decide what happened next, with the possibility of going back to the negotiating table or even staying in the bloc. This affords Conservative pro-'Remain' MPs another opportunity to defeat the government if their discussions with ministers do not yield the tangible concessions they seek.

Parliament will vote Tuesday on a key piece of legislation, the E.U. Withdrawal bill, that would transfer European Union laws now on British books into British law after Brexit. "If the PM goes back on that there will be no agreed amendment that I can support". But it was forced to offer Tory rebels some big concessions.

"Yesterday perhaps only postponed the government's real test on a meaningful vote", he said.

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 decision was taken by the people, we gave them that decision and we have to stand by it", said Conservative MP Bill Cash.

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