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Surprise victory for May as MPs back backstop amendment | Politics News



Tonight Theresa May has won a surprise victory, after MPs voted in favour of a change to her Brexit plan which calls on her to go back to Brussels and demand a better deal on the Northern Irish backstop.

It may not sound like a victory, being forced to change her plan, but the prime minister had called on Conservative MPs to support the amendment in order to win over concerned members of her party who refused to back her.

The victory was bigger than expected after the government convinced pro-Brexit MPs to back her in a bid to strengthen her hand in future talks as she tries to win concessions with EU leaders.

A number of other amendments which could have thrown her plan off course failed to pass, including one tabled by Labour’s Yvette Cooper which would have delayed the UK’s exit from the union by as much as nine months.

Another which sought to take over time in parliament to allow MPs to debate a range of alternative options also failed to pass.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn says he will meet Theresa May to discuss Brexit after MPs voted against no deal.

Corbyn agrees to meet May over Brexit

But a tweak tabled by a Conservative MP demanding a no-deal Brexit be taken off the table did win widespread support, showing the House of Commons would do everything in its power to stop this outcome.

Although the votes are not binding, it is the first time MPs have indicated what they do support, after voting down the prime minister’s deal by a large majority last time around.

Theresa May is now expected to go back to Brussels and demand the EU reopen the Withdrawal Agreement in order to change the backstop and secure support from her MPs.

Sources in Brussels have already ruled out doing so, however.

Some MPs have indicated that even an addition to the agreement could be enough for them to vote it through the House of Commons but the prime minister faces an uphill struggle in the next couple of weeks to try to win changes before she brings the deal back to parliament in mid-February.

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