UK+government+loses+key+Brexit+vote
Thursday, 14 December 2017 - 9:52
UK government loses key Brexit vote
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The UK government has been narrowly defeated in a key vote on its Brexit bill after a rebellion by 11 Tory MPs.
 
In a blow to Prime Minister Theresa May, MPs voted to give Parliament a legal guarantee of a vote on the final Brexit deal struck with Brussels.
 
The government had argued this would jeopardize its chances of delivering a smooth departure from the EU.
 
Despite a last-minute attempt to offer concessions to rebels, an amendment to the bill was backed by 309 to 305.
 
Ministers said the "minor setback" would not prevent the UK leaving the EU in 2019.
 
Of the Conservative MPs who voted against the government, eight are former ministers.
 
One of them, Stephen Hammond, was sacked as Conservative vice chairman in the aftermath of the vote.
 
"Tonight I put country and constituency before the party and voted with my principles to give Parliament a meaningful vote," he tweeted.
 
The government said it was "disappointed" at losing - its first defeat on Brexit - despite the "strong assurances" it had offered.
 
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said the defeat was "a humiliating loss of authority" for Mrs May on the eve of an EU summit where leaders will discuss Brexit.
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