Government wins key Commons vote despite Tory backbench rebellion

British Prime Minister Theresa May
British Prime Minister Theresa May

20 July, 2018

Just a year ago, Boris Johnson - who resigned as Foreign Secretary earlier this month over the PM's Brexit plan - boasted that the government had no plan for "no deal" because it was going to secure "a great deal".

He was also the face of Vote Leave - the official pro-Brexit campaign group that was recently fined for breaking electoral law by overspending nearly US$600,000.

In a clear sign that plans are accelerating to cover the negotiations collapsing, the Prime Minister said the technical notices would tell firms and individuals what to do "in the event of a no-deal scenario". "We have time in these negotiations - we have changed tack once and we can change again".

May is expected to face many more challenges to her strategy after the summer break as she works her way through a mountain of Brexit-related legislation.

"At absolutely no point because Brexit continues to mean Brexit", May replied.

The BBC's chief political correspondent Vicki Young said Johnson's friends were insisting he was not trying to emulate Sir Geoffrey Howe, whose caustic resignation speech in 1990 is widely seen as having paved the way for Margaret Thatcher's downfall weeks later.

"We must try now because we will not get a chance again".

Johnson, who led the main Brexit campaign in the 2016 referendum, resigned this month over May's strategy, triggering the government's biggest crisis since she lost her parliamentary majority after calling a snap election previous year.

Steve Baker, who walked out of his ministerial job at the Department for Exiting the European Union after Mr Davis quit, told the PM to "accelerate" Brexit.

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"We dithered and we burned through our negotiating capital", he said, noting the agreement to pay billions of pounds to settle Britain's financial commitments before any deal on future trade.

The UK is due to leave the European Union on 29 March 2019 but has yet to agree how its final relationship with the bloc will work.

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But Mrs May says she rejected the move because she is determined to negotiate a deal with Brussels.

"That was the vision that the Prime Minister rightly described previous year".

May also sought to rally support in later meetings with Conservative Party backbenchers known as the 1922 Committee and with the Parliamentary Liaison Committee that includes the leaders of all the House of Commons select committees.

A spokeswoman for May said the amendments are consistent with the original plan.

"Problem is, I don't think she's in charge any more".

"These nonsenses of threatening general elections and votes of confidence in the prime minister and as I actually said to the deputy chief whip "bring it on" because I shall be the first in the queue to give my vote of full confidence in the prime minister", she said.

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