After reprieve, May faces Brexit battle in parliament on trade

West Oxfordshire MP resigns from government over Brexit plan

Supporters of Hammond's new clause, which was backed by MPs from the main opposition Labor Party, were given hope of success when the government lost a vote on another aspect of its EU Trade Bill by just a handful of votes, 305 against 301 for the government.

The pressures building on the prime minister have come to a head in the last week, after the government finally published its strategy for leaving the European Union, which disappointed both sides of the divide.

One EU official said the extension could be given if member states see United Kingdom negotiators committed to hammering out a deal day and night.

May's plan has drawn criticism from members of her party as well as pro-Brexit members.

"The compromise plan that we have from Chequers doesn't achieve any of those".

By prevailing in Tuesday's vote, she avoided for now the prospect of having to go back on her word that Britain will not be part of any customs union after leaving the EU - something that would have enraged the pro-Brexit wing of her party.

Theresa May and Business Secretary, Greg Clark (right), arrive at the Farnborough International Airshow in Hampshire.

May's authority has been weakened with the resignations of major figures Boris Johnson and David Davis and a series of lesser officials who disagree with her Brexit plan.

Defeat on the amendment could have triggered a full-scale leadership crisis for the prime minister.

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North Cornwall MP Scott Mann quit as a ministerial aide to the Treasury, the former postman saying he would not "deliver a watered down Brexit".

Ms Greening, the former education secretary, said the nation should be asked to decide between three options: Mrs May's plan for a softer Brexit, a hard "no deal" Brexit and staying in the European Union.

Brexiteers say this will keep Britain shackled powerless to the EU.

Prime Minister Theresa May won approval from the lower of house of parliament on Tuesday for a law needed to let Britain pursue an independent trade policy once it leaves the European Union. "There is not going to be a second referendum. under any circumstances", May's official spokesperson said. "Theresa May should finally accept that and get on with the job of negotiating for Britain".

Under the Article 50 withdrawal procedure, the United Kingdom has the right to ask for an extension of the talks, but the EU-27 unanimously need to agree to continue the negotiations.

Labour shadow chancellor John McDonnell said such a vote, listed for Tuesday evening, showed the government was in "chaos".

"But rather than trying to fix the damage and negotiate with Brussels, the new Brexit Secretary has chose to take the evening off and attend a summer drinks reception. This is simply not good enough".

Tuesday's legislation was technical in nature - focusing on converting trade deals between the European Union and third countries into bilateral deals with Britain - and was not originally meant to define new trade policy.

In a sign that he was keeping his powder dry, he said in an article for The Daily Telegraph that he would resist "for now" the temptation "to bang on about Brexit".

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