PM hit by fresh resignation in knife-edge Commons Brexit vote

Brexit Tory MP calls for EU referendum rerun

British Prime Minister Theresa May narrowly staved off a rebellion from pro-EU members of her Conservative Party following her decision to incorporate hardline Brexit amendments into a customs bill.

Theresa May's government is attempting to bring forward the summer recess in order to prevent further chaos, after avoiding defeat by just three votes tonight on amendments to the Customs Bill, accepted by the government to appease Brexit-supporting MPs.

May's vulnerability in parliament, where she lost her Conservative Party's majority in an ill-judged election a year ago, was laid bare on Monday, when her decision to accept demands of pro-Brexit lawmakers stirred a rebellion among those who want to keep the closest possible ties in the EU.

By 305 votes to 302 - with 14 Tories rebelling - MPs backed an amendment that prevents the United Kingdom from collecting taxes on behalf of the European Union, unless the rest of the European Union does the same for the UK.

The three Labour MPs who rebelled against their party whip by voting with the government were Frank Field, Kate Hoey and Graham Stringer - all of whom are pro-Brexit.

It is because the Brexiter ultras - as opposed to the Remainer ultras - are fundamentalists; when push comes to potential Brexit betrayal, they rate an attempted redemption of the Brexit dream above loyalty to party.

Johnson returned to the political fray with his first column for Monday's Daily Telegraph since he resigned from the government over the Chequers compromise.

But Labour MP Stephen Kinnock accused the PM of "capitulating" and said the Chequers deal was now "dead in the water".

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The government, which does not have a Commons majority, has been under pressure from MPs on both sides of the Brexit debate.

Remainers are trying to force a move which would require the Government to strike a customs union agreement with the EU if Mrs May is unable to deliver by mid-January her Chequers plan for a UK-EU free trade area.

In his letter he wrote: "I fear elements of the Brexit white paper will inevitably put me in direct conflict with the views expressed by a large section of my constituents".

Theresa May now faces a grilling from both Conservative and opposition MPs over her Brexit plans.

It would also mean that there would be nearly no time for Tory MPs to hold a confidence vote in the prime minister if one was called.

His resignation was seen by many as a risky sign for May, who is now facing potential unrest from both sides of her party.

May had to fight hard to get the agreement of cabinet ministers at her Chequers country residence for her vision for Britain's future ties with the European Union, only for it to be undermined by the resignations last week of her Brexit minister David Davis and foreign secretary Boris Johnson.

Amid all the upheaval, a second referendum still seems unlikely. The new UK Brexit secretary Dominic Raab will meet the EU'S chief negotiator Michel Barnier on Thursday (19 July).

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