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Theresa May loses key Brexit vote, heads to Brussels for EU summit

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Following the vote defeat, May sacks senior Tory Stephen Hammond

After losing a key vote on the EU Withdrawal bill last evening, British Prime Minister Theresa May is due at a summit in Brussels today where she will urge EU leaders to approve an agreement to move Brexit talks on to a second phase.

At Brussels, May will repeat her case for unlocking talks to unravel more than 40 years of union to allow for the discussion of future trade relations.

Read related story: Government vulnerable to rebellion from Tory MPs

27 other EU leaders are all but certain to approve the deal to move to ‘phase two’ tomorrow, launching a new stage of talks that could be hampered by divisions at home and differences with the EU.

Last evening, members of Parliament had voted for an amendment to the bill meaning lawmakers must approve the final deal with the EU before withdrawal begins. The bill is a key piece of legislation which aims to transfer EU law into UK law upon the country’s planned departure from the bloc on March 29, 2019.

May had earlier rejected the amendment saying it “risked delaying the Brexit process”.

After the vote, May lost by a close margin of 309-305 votes. Amendment 7 to Clause 9 was tabled by May’s own Conservative MP Dominic Grieve, who leads a faction of “rebels” within the party.

One rebel, Stephen Hammond, was sacked by May as a party vice chairman in the aftermath of the vote.




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