Brexit law faces crucial Commons vote

Earlier, a junior minister resigned to fight for a "meaningful vote" for MPs, saying the government was offering a "fake choice" between "a bad deal and no deal".

However, Devon Tory Sarah Wollaston signalled that she would back Mr Grieve's amendment.

During three and a half hours of tense debate on amendments to the EU Withdrawal Bill, government whips held whispered conferences with a handful of Tories on the Commons benches.

They also voted to disagree with Lords amendment 37, which was part of an attempt to remove the exit day from the Bill and allow the Commons to rethink its approach.

The concession means MPs could be given power to prevent Britain leaving the European Union without a deal.

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.

As with last week's set-to with Davis over the Northern Irish backstop, both sides of the Brexit culture war in the Tory party were nearly immediately in dispute about what the climbdown meant - and who had won.

But she faces a gruelling bout of "parliamentary ping-pong" with the Lords, as the Bill bounces back and forth between the two Houses over the coming weeks.

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Davis on Tuesday told the BBC, "that was the decision of the British people. and whatever we do, we're not going to reverse that".

307 Conservative MPs backed the government, which is a strong result for Theresa May, who just hours earlier had feared she would lose her majority due to disgruntled Tory MPs.

In a day of drama, May's position seemed suddenly weaker when junior justice minister Phillip Lee, who has always been critical of Brexit strategy, resigned and said he would vote against the government.

If agreed, ministers would have until the end of November this year to secure a Brexit deal before seeking the approval of parliament.

Brexit Secretary David Davis has warned Conservative Party rebels that proposals to give Parliament the power to direct negotiations with the European Union are simply a tactic to overturn the results of the 2016 referendum that mandated Britain's departure from the bloc. There were 14 of us in the room.

Labour's Brexit policy chief, Keir Starmer, said May had been forced to avoid a "humiliating defeat" and "to enter negotiations with her backbenchers".

"I've been through this before when in opposition and now that when we're in Government, because if the House makes the concession of allowing the dialogue to continue and I can see the merit of that happening, it has got to be done in good faith".

The government was putting a combative spin on the concessions Tuesday evening: "The Brexit Secretary has set out three tests that any new amendment has to meet - not undermining the negotiations, not changing the constitutional role of Parliament and Government in negotiating global treaties, and respecting the referendum result", a spokesperson for the Brexit department said in a statement.

"I want to end up having a meaningful discussion so we can move forward positively".

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