May is a hostage to her own party after Brexit non-rebellion

Brexit bill returns to Commons as Theresa May warns Tory rebels not to undermine her

After Mrs May talked round potential rebels, MPs voted by 324 to 298 to reject a House of Lords amendment that would have given Parliament the power to tell the PM to go back and renegotiate the Brexit deal she secures from Brussels.

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.

But Brexit campaigners feared it could weaken Britain's negotiating stance in talks to leave the European Union and the Brexit ministry was quick to put out a statement saying: "We have not, and will not, agree to the House of Commons binding the government's hands in the negotiation".

However flabbily drafted the clause may be, defeat for the government would send a strong signal that Parliament doesn't back the negotiating goals May is pursuing. That probably means the chances of a no-deal Brexit recede.

They have an ace up their sleeve as they go into talks with the government: if May reneges on her pledge, pro-EU members of the House of Lords will amend her legislation again.

The government was braced for a tight battle after junior justice minister Phillip Lee, a personal friend of May's, resigned on Tuesday morning in order to back the veto amendment.

On Wednesday the British parliament will vote on an amendment by the House of Lords requiring the House of Commons to explore remaining part of the European Economic Area (EEA), an option often referred to as "the Norway model".

Maybe it was the moment when the former education secretary, Justine Greening, intervened on her former ministerial colleague, Dominic Grieve, that the government realised the game was up.

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However, May is anxious about the prospect of a rebellion by pro-EU Conservative MPs who are determined to retain as numerous changes as possible. However, with the vast majority of both Leave and Remain voters agreeing that the government's negotiating strategy has been a failure, MPs across the aisle have started to have doubts about whether a satisfactory deal will be possible.

Which side won on Tuesday will become much clearer in the next few days, when the government amendment is tabled in black and white. The Sun reports that Brexiteers are not allowing any more Government amendments.

Here are the key amendments which MPs voted on Wednesday evening.

"The main reason for my taking this decision now is the Brexit process and the government's wish to limit parliament's role in contributing to the final outcome in a vote that takes place today", he said in a statement released on his website.

But, the pro-EU MPs' version of what they were promised appears to differ from what they government says it offered, threatening to reignite the dispute and reviving the possibility of a revolt that would badly damage May's authority.

Labour MPs had been whipped to abstain on the motion to disagree with the Lords EEA amendment. This is where Conservative rebels like Nicky Morgan, Anna Soubry and Ken Clark are expected to make their biggest move on customs. "It is the Labour Party that is trying to stop us getting a deal for the British people".

The amendment in question hinges on whether lawmakers will get a "meaningful" vote on Britain's membership of the European Union.

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