Theresa May suffers major Commons defeat as MPs begin Brexit debate

Theresa May tells MPs 'see you next Tuesday' as Brexit vote confirmed

Plans for no deal Brexit suffers a blow as MPs vote against government | Latest Brexit news and top stories

Ian Murray, the Labour MP for Edinburgh South and a leading supporter of the People's Vote campaign, said: "The threat of a no deal Brexit has cynically used by the government for many months as part of their campaign to bully and intimidate Parliament into voting for a bad deal that would leave us worse off and offers less control".

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.

The government needs 318 votes to get a deal through the 650-seat House of Commons, as seven members of Irish nationalist party Sinn Fein do not sit, four Speakers and deputy Speakers do not vote, and the four tellers are not counted.

"The real question for Members of Parliament who voted to give the public a say through the European referendum in 2016, who voted in large numbers to trigger Article 50, is the effect of triggering Article 50 is you either have a deal and the EU have been clear that the only deal on the table is the PM's deal".

Justice minister Rory Stewart questioned the basis of Mr Bercow's decision, telling the BBC: "It is a very, very unusual thing that he did".

A no-deal Brexit could happen if ministers vote down May's deal on 15 January.

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"The only way we can move forward if the Government's deal is not acceptable to Parliament is for Parliament to engage with Government and find a solution, which is what I am trying to do".

A potentially damaging no-deal exit is the default scenario if May's deal is rejected, with the UK's central bank warning that Britain's gross domestic product (GDP) could shrink by up to eight percent in such a scenario.

There was little sign that opposition to Mrs May's deal among Tory Brexiteers had softened over the Christmas break, with several who attended a drinks reception at Number 10 on Monday evening saying they would vote against the plan.

May has so far refused to retreat from her unpopular deal, which envisages close trading ties with the European Union, but without any say on policy as Britain has now, after leaving in March.

He said the choice was between "this deal, or it is no deal, reverse the 2016 referendum entirely".

Simon Usherwood, a reader in politics at the University of Surrey and deputy director of the United Kingdom in a Changing Europe group, told Al Jazeera that Wednesday's events demonstrated the "degree to which the government is not in control of the Commons".

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On Wednesday, the House of Commons voted to prevent the government delaying key decisions as Brexit approaches.

A Downing Street source said she had always meant to respond quickly if she loses next week's vote.

Responding to the vote, Brexit minister Stephen Barclay told parliament it was the government's intention to act quickly if May's Brexit plan was rejected on Tuesday.

"I've been in contact with European leaders. about MPs' concerns".

A pro-Brexit protester, centre, argues with an anti-Brexit protester during a demonstration outside the Houses of Parliament in London.

"They [EU leaders] have been pretty clear that negotiations have come to an end", Gostynska-Jakubowska told Al Jazeera.

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Meanwhile, Business Secretary Greg Clark told the House of Commons that a no-deal Brexit "should not be contemplated". "Let's stick to where we are now", she added.

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