Prime Minister hit by dramatic resignation as MPs debate Brexit

Earlier, Mrs May was hit by the resignation of justice minister Phillip Lee, who quit the Government live on stage during a speech in London in order to be able to back Mr Grieve's amendment.

The bill underpins the government's Brexit strategy.

As the Brexit debate reached its fraught climax, she was holed up in the same House of Commons office, behind the Speaker's chair, where she spent more than an hour last Thursday trying to convince David Davis not to resign.

The Lib Dems, who identify strongly as an anti-Brexit party to the point of pushing for a second referendum and running by-elections in Remain-friendly seats on that platform, opposed the Government.

"Secondly, we can not change the fundamental constitutional structure which makes the Government responsible for worldwide relations and global treaties".

British Prime Minister Theresa May is urging feuding Conservative lawmakers to unite and prevent the government from being defeated in key votes on its main Brexit bill.

He confirmed that ministers will seek to overturn 14 amendments which he said would undermine the objective of the Bill and fail to respect the result of the 2016 referendum.

Following its defeat, the government's own amendment on the so-called meaningful vote will go forward to the House of Lords for debate next week - but with some changes. The Brexit Department said in a statement that it would look for compromise, but would not agree to lawmakers "binding the government's hands" in negotiations.

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The amendment would effectively give MPs the power to prevent the United Kingdom from opting to crash out of the European Union without a Brexit deal and is a major victory for Remain-supporting MPs in parliament.

A victory for the "meaningful final vote" amendment would leave the government weaker in am upcoming round of talks with European Union negotiators in late June, and also weaken Theresa May's authority as leader.

May also told them she would try to capture another of their concerns, as enshrined in Grieve's amendment to the EU Withdrawal bill - which would much more explicitly give MPs the whip hand in Brexit talks, if May has still not done a deal with the EU by February next year.

Several pro-EU Conservative MPs said they would join the opposition in voting against the government. If some of its leave-supporting lawmakers choose to vote against the amendment, the government could avoid defeat altogether.

A dispute quickly arose about the third clause of Grieve's amendment, with Brexiters, including some ministers, quickly saying all that had been agreed was talks - and no government could agree to be "directed" by MPs. But there is going to be no binary choice of the deal on the table or no deal, with Parliament bypassed.

It would also give hard Brexiteers the chance to "scupper a good deal", she claimed.

Government sources signalled to the Press Association that ministers were set to back the move.

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