Theresa May narrowly wins key Brexit vote

Conservative govt. defeats amendment brought by own MPs

British Prime Minister Theresa May narrowly survived another crunch Brexit vote in Parliament on Tuesday, as she struggles to unify her divided party around her strategy for leaving the European Union.

The Conservative government defeated an amendment introduced by its own backbench MPs to a future trade policy Bill which would have kept Britain in a customs union with the EU if it fails to agree to a free trade deal.

If the amendment had passed it would have thrown Ms. May’s Brexit strategy into disarray and increased pressure on the already beleaguered leader.

Government whips overcame the rebellion by a dozen Tory lawmakers — reportedly issuing last-ditch threats it would prompt a no-confidence vote in the Prime Minister — and scraped through by six votes, winning by 307 to 301. It was bolstered by the support of four pro-Brexit opposition Labour Party MPs.

Ministers argued the amendment would put “massive restrictions” on its ability to forge “an independent trade policy” after Britain leaves the European Union next March.

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