Speaker Bercow caught in Brexit storm

Houses of Parliament

"It is a warning to the Government not to drift into No Deal at the end of March by accident or through brinkmanship", she said.

The Scottish Secretary argued a second vote on the May Plan would "crystallise" matters in MPs' minds and afford them the "opportunity to reflect and understand the real alternatives: crashing out of the European Union in 80 days' time or stopping Brexit altogether".

"I disagree with that, and so I think do the vast majority of Members of Parliament".

Conservative former cabinet minister Ken Clarke earlier said he found it "unbelievable" that some MPs were trying to stop the Commons expressing its opinion on the matter.

The date of the vote was pushed back until after Christmas after minister accepted that the deal was heading for a crushing defeat.

The EU has ruled out even meeting with UK Brexit negotiators to talk about any changes to the agreement. "There won't be any meeting as such, because negotiations have been completed", a spokesperson for the EU told reporters in Brussels on Monday.

Furthermore, it is expected that if and when Mrs May produces an alternative plan, the Speaker will again incur the wrath of Government ministers and loyal Tories by ruling that MPs can seek to amend the PM's new proposal, meaning that a range of options, including extending Article 50 and staging a People's Vote, could be put forward.

May insists Britain will leave the European Union in March whatever happens, but there is growing talk of delaying the two-year Article 50 exit process to give her some breathing space to get her deal agreed.

"I am extremely concerned about the decision that was taken today", she said.

Labour's shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer said: "The government's decision to delay the meaningful vote has run down the clock and increased the risk of a no-deal Brexit".

UK MPs piled more pressure on Theresa May to rule out a "no deal" Brexit on Tuesday (8 January) after inflicting another embarrassing defeat on her.

He said: "That sticker on the subject of Brexit happens to be affixed to or in the windscreen of my wife's auto, and I'm sure he wouldn't suggest for one moment that a wife is somehow the property or chattel of her husband".

Mrs May's attempts to win over MPs were further thwarted on Wednesday after the DUP dismissed new assurances over the controversial backstop element of the withdrawal agreement as "meaningless".

The government published pledges offering Northern Ireland a "strong voice and role in any decision to bring the backstop into effect". Wilson, one of 10 DUP lawmakers propping up May's minority government, described her deal as "ruinous".

Parliament is due to vote on the divorce deal next week.

Under the EU's backstop proposal, Northern Ireland would have stayed in the single market and customs union while the rest of the United Kingdom withdraws, while Mrs May wanted Northern Ireland treated the same as the rest of the UK.

"I don't think that the British public are served by fantasies about magical alternative deals that are somehow going to sort of spring out of a cupboard in Brussels", Lidington told the BBC.

Some investors and major banks believe May's deal will be defeated on Tuesday but that eventually it will be approved.

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