Has Theresa May only delayed her Brexit defeat by a few days?

GETTYSmith said Britain could easily crush the European Union into submission if they needed

Theresa May has found herself in a fresh standoff with Conservative rebels after Downing Street signalled it has no intention of discussing a central aspect of their demands.

The meaningful vote is probably the most unsafe of the Lords amendments to the EU (Withdrawal) Bill - because it tees up an unpredictable vote on the final terms of Brexit, towards the end of this year, and opens up the possibility that MPs could demand that ministers change policy, in the event the terms were rejected by the House, or no deal was reached in the talks with the EU.... they could even demand (drumroll) a second referendum...

But government officials admitted that the concession does constrain their freedom in the Brexit talks. "Further amendments to the Brexit bill will be discussed today; but even after that I still do not see a clear path that will satisfy both sides of the party, the Brexiteers and the Remainers, sufficiently so as not to topple the government and that will also seem acceptable to the European Union", says Esther Maria Reichelt, an analyst at Commerzbank.

Dominic Grieve, arch-Remainer and leading rebel, has tabled his own amendment which is a compromise on the meaningful vote one.

The issue seen as most likely to provoke a rebellion was that of giving MPs a "meaningful vote" on the final Brexit deal. Opening the debate, Brexit Secretary David Davis said: "What it actually amounts to is an unconstitutional shift, which risks undermining our negotiations with the European Union".

Does the Government have a hand in it? But for now, the government seems to have prevented an embarrassing defeat, and the Tory rebels have avoided the unpleasantness of colluding in the defeat of their Prime Minister.

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.

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After PMQs, a No 10 source was asked if that meant, "as far as the government's concerned, clause C is not up for discussion as part of this amendment?"

The battle now moves to the House of Lords, where the government will formally reveal how much it has conceded in the wording of a new amendment expected on Monday or Tuesday.

Jeremy Corbyn made fun of the deep divisions within Theresa May's cabinet over Brexit during PMQs on Wednesday, after the prime minister narrowly avoided a humiliating defeat in parliament. In three hours, a constitutional absurdity had become a political necessity.

"There's a reasonable expectation that something will emerge, but I need to work on that and more importantly work with colleagues to come up with something".

She added she was sure Mrs May "will honour her word".

"The gap is: what happens if there is no deal? Parliamentary pressure will remain in place to soften the Brexit outcome", says Lee Hardman, a currency analyst at MUFG. "I think that is very important that our sovereign parliament gets to express its opinion".

There are mutterings from Brexiteers that a betrayal on this could be the moment they go over the top and withdraw their support from the prime minister; this is a showdown averted but not killed off.

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