Theresa May braced for showdown with Brexit rebels

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May leaves the BBC after appearing on the Andrew Marr Show in central London Britain

The government majority was reduced to just three votes on the most controversial amendment after leading Tory remainer Anna Soubry complained that the prime minister had lost control of events by making concessions to the rightwing European Research Group of MPs.

EU affairs ministers will soon have their first chance to discuss the UK's white paper, the UK's policy on its relationship with the EU after Brexit, and how they would tackle key issues, such as trade between the EU and UK.

The most important of the four amendments from the ERG, chaired by Jacob Rees-Mogg, had been created to frustrate May's compromise proposals over customs arrangements agreed at Chequers and had been initially been opposed by the government until Downing Street made a sudden U-turn in the afternoon. One Labour source accused her of "running scared of her own MPs".

The level of support they attract will draw intense focus, particularly if the number significantly exceeds the 48 required to call for a vote of no confidence in May's leadership of the Conservative party.

To dispel the Tory infighting on Tuesday, May is expected to ask MPs to vote to start the parliament's summer recess on Thursday, five days before the expected end to the political season.

Downing Street has insisted its Brexit strategy is still alive after the Prime Minister was forced change to crucial trade legislation under pressure from Eurosceptic Conservative MPs.

The government has narrowly avoided a defeat on its Customs Bill after agreeing to Brexiteers' demands to change its wording. He told MPs that the issue "has got much more hard since becoming politicised" but was "eminently soluble".

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MPs debated amendments on the customs bill - officially named the Taxation (Cross-Border Trade) Bill.

May said she was sticking with her plans.

Theresa May faces a make-or-break period as she battles to keep her premiership on track until Parliament's summer recess.

The prime minister also said that the taxation (cross border trade) bill, which seeks to allow the United Kingdom to implement its own customs regime after Brexit, and a related trade bill on Tuesday, were "an important part of our no-deal preparations" because both were necessary to prepare the United Kingdom for life as an independent trading nation.

The DUP has criticised the growing demands to hold a second referendum on the UK's membership of the EU.

One of the amendments practically says that the United Kingdom should not be collecting tariffs for Brussels unless the European Union does the same for Britain, one of the key ideas in May's original Brexit white paper that was created to keep the Irish border invisible.

Labour sought to exploit the open Tory divisions.

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