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MPs reject first set of amendments to Brexit law

08 February 2017

May's administration defeated an attempt in Parliament to force her to give lawmakers more power over the final Brexit agreement by 326 votes to 293 on Tuesday, even though some senior members of her Conservative Party defied her authority and voted against the government.

The government wants to notify the European Union of its intention to leave, giving effect to last June's referendum vote and starting two years of talks, by the end of March.

Remain-backing Conservative MPs have indicated they could be willing to support amendments seeking to ensure Parliament has a say on the "endgame" if exit negotiations end without a deal.

Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron said: "From the cost of food and petrol to mobile phone bills, Brexit is hitting consumers in the pocket".

At last week's second reading, 47 Labour MPs voted against the triggering of article 50 as they saw the dangers of a hard Brexit.

Theresa May had already promised that MPs would get to vote on the terms of Brexit, but now the government has agreed to let that happen before the terms are finalised, i.e. before the European Parliament gets to vote.

Earlier in the day, the MPs also voted against an SNP amendment by 336 votes to 88.

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As Holyrood's consent is not necessary for the process to start, following a UK Supreme Court ruling last month, the vote was mostly symbolic with 90 opposing the initiation of the process and 34 throwing their support.

Labour Party Brexit spokesman Keir Starmer says that it's a 'huge and very important concession, ' but is demanding more details.

Jones also said that if Britain and European Union could not come to an agreement within two years, Britain would "fall back" on to World Trade Organisation arrangements.

The bill is expected to complete its passage through the lower House of Commons on Wednesday.

Jones confirmed that the fallback option for the United Kingdom, if Parliament decides to throw out the final Brexit agreement, would be WTO terms with higher tariffs.

Last week the shadow home secretary - one of Jeremy Corbyn's closest allies - failed to take part in the key vote to trigger Article 50, claiming she had developed a headache hours before it took place.

MPs reject first set of amendments to Brexit law