Theresa May suffers fresh Brexit defeat

MPs defeat May government over no-deal Brexit

May tries to woo the DUP as meaningful vote debate restarts

European Union leaders took turns to praise Theresa May on Thursday night (13 December) but the UK Prime Minister left Brussels empty-handed after promising her divided Conservative party that she would secure new concessions from European Union leaders.

McDonald's statement is consistent with the message given by France's Europe minister, Nathalie Loiseau, who said on Tuesday that "there's nothing more [the EU] can do" than restate its position that the backstop would only be used as a last resort and until a new trade deal came into force.

The House of Commons vote on Mrs May's deal is set to take place next Tuesday and Labour will call a vote of no confidence in the government if she loses.

Sir Hugh Orde said a no-deal Brexit would only be a benefit to dissident republican terrorists.

The meeting came as the United Kingdom government published plans for the Northern Ireland assembly to have a say on whether to enter the backstop or extend the transition period should a trade deal not be ready.

"This deal will not be renegotiated".

"I actually genuinely think we can't do it on March 29 this year".

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He spoke as the government considered whether to back a Labour amendment to the Brexit deal to guarantee workers' rights.

The clock is ticking for Theresa May to get her deal through Parliament but threats of resignations and mutiny among her backbenchers still loom large.

"The government has to ensure that all eventualities are covered", he said.

But asked whether words of comfort from the European Union would be enough to change his party's stance on the deal, he told reporters: 'Let us wait and see what comes forth in the course of the next few days but there hasn't been much so far, so we'll see what happens in the next little while'.

Opponents of Mrs May's deal, including Boris Johnson and Iain Duncan Smith, have insisted they will not change their minds despite the drinks evening.

"However, the Withdrawal Agreement and the Backstop can not, and will not, be rewritten, renegotiated or vetoed". Five days of debate in the Commons will begin on Wednesday.

Ministers will hope that if they can bring the DUP onside, many pro-Brexit Tory rebels will also fall into line as the Prime Minister and her allies struggle to try to win the crucial Commons vote next week.

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The prime minister has said the United Kingdom will be in "uncharted territory" if the deal is not accepted although she has not ruled out asking the Commons to vote on it on several times prior to the 29 March deadline.

The situation has left ministers in despair.

"We may not be convincing Sammy Wilson but that is not the same as not convincing unionism", he said.

Asked whether he was prepared to resign to stop a no-deal Brexit, he replied: "Definitely, I would".

Another minister, Margot James, suggested on Monday that Brexit may have to be delayed and negotiations extended under the Article 50 process if Parliament could not agree on the terms of withdrawal.

The vote on the cross-party amendment is expected at about 19:00 GMT. Mr Campbell said until Thursday, "no specific request" had been made.

"But there is no doubt that if the clause were passed, it would represent a huge challenge to the authority of the government and increase further pressure to find a negotiated way out of the current deadlock".

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