Britain's government suffered another setback Wednesday as MPs voted to force it to announce within three sitting days what steps it will take next if its Brexit deal is rejected by parliament next week as appears likely.
Lawmakers voted 308-297 on Wednesday in favour of demanding the government come up with an alternative plan within three working days after the January 15 vote, rather than a planned 21-day limit.
But Commons Speaker John Bercow sparked fury from Tory MPs by allowing the plan to be put to a vote, which the government subsequently lost by 308 votes to 297, majority 11.
The vote was originally timetabled for December but was postponed by the government when it became clear that the deal would be rejected.
Twenty Conservative MPs rebelled against the government and their own party, including former cabinet ministers Michael Fallon, Justine Greening, Dominic Grieve, Ken Clarke and Oliver Letwin. May presents. That clears the way for MPs to propose everything from a second referendum on Brexit to delaying the country's departure from the European Union and even cancelling Brexit altogether.
Lidington said the vote showed that many lawmakers do not want a no deal but he cautioned that it was not enough to show simply what lawmakers did not want. She claimed that having listened to concerns from MPs, she would seek the necessary changes in order to get her Brexit plan through Parliament.
The government said it was an "inconvenience" but would not stop preparations for leaving the EU.
Members of parliament voted 303 to 296 in favour of an amendment to a finance bill which curbed government tax administration powers if the British administration decides to leave the European Union without explicit authorization from parliament, Sky News reported.
The Sun says the Speaker was "out of order" as MPs accused him of trying to "scupper Brexit".
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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".
The amendment was passed, much to the discomfiture of the ruling benches.
The amendment to legislation implementing last year's budget states that powers to amend tax laws to make them work after Brexit could only be used if a deal was agreed, Brexit was cancelled, or, if the government had parliamentary approval to proceed with a no-deal exit.
A source in Brussels told AFP several weeks ago that Britain has been discussing the possibility with European officials, and a junior British minister, Margot James, publicly voiced the idea on Monday.
On the first of five days of debate on the deal, former global development secretary Andrew Mitchell said: "I've been astonished that she would bring back to the Commons a deal she knows she has absolutely no chance whatsoever to get through, and also with apparently no plan B".
An EU diplomat told AFP on Tuesday that "we are convinced that Theresa May will request a postponement after the agreement is rejected in the British parliament".
Mrs May retorted: "The only way to avoid no-deal is to vote for the deal".
The government had earlier published a series of commitments to Northern Ireland over the Brexit deal, aimed at wooing MPs opposed to the so-called backstop arrangement for the Irish border.
He will say: "A government that can not get its business through the House of Commons is no government at all".
However, Jeremy Corbyn is expected to make a speech today insisting that Labour can negotiate a better Brexit deal and will again call for a general election as the only solution to "break the Brexit deadlock".