Britain's battle over Brexit turns into political trench warfare

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But Bercow, who won equally noisy support from Labour MPs and some remain-minded Conservatives, insisted that he could make the decision and that he would side with the interests of parliament over the executive.

This will be the final action day before parliament votes on the government's deal on 15 January.

Responding to the vote, Brexit minister Stephen Barclay told parliament it was the government's intention to act quickly if it lost Tuesday's vote.

There's no guarantee Labour could marshal the majority support in Parliament needed to topple the government - and even if it did, a new election would not automatically stop the Brexit countdown clock. Crucially though, he gave no legal assurances, a prerequisite for the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and many Tory hardline brexiteers.

"If the government can not pass its most important legislation, then there must be a general election at the earliest opportunity", Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn will say, according to the text of a speech he will deliver in Wakefield, northern England, extracts of which were released by Labour.

Labour has said it will table a motion of no confidence in the government if Mrs May's deal is voted down.

When asked about the impact of "no deal", he told Sky News: "I think there is a substantial majority of MPs who recognise that to move from a trading relationship that is the closest in the world that we have between the United Kingdom and the rest of the European Union to the most rudimentary of terms within a matter of weeks would do incalculable damage to the industries that employ people".

The Tesco chief executive, Dave Lewis, said the supermarket has been holding a special round of talks with its suppliers and increasing stocks of long-life groceries.

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Last month she promised to seek reassurances from the European Union on the most contentious issue, the status of the Northern Ireland-Ireland border.

He added: "The default is in law that unless we have a deal, then we will fall into no-deal". Mrs May then successfully fended off a leadership challenge from her own party, but appears to have swayed few minds on her Brexit deal which is still widely expected to be rejected.

She said: "Although I campaigned and voted to Remain in the European Union in the referendum, I have set out to respect the result of that vote and taken great care to listen to the concerns of my constituents as the process unfolds".

Asked if he would resign rather than see a no-deal, he said: "I would always work and fight to make sure that the policy of the government is to have a good deal, to avoid what I think would be a disaster which would be no-deal".

Mr Clark's intervention comes amid a widespread expectation at Westminster that the government is heading for a defeat in Tuesday's crunch vote on the Withdrawal Agreement negotiated with Brussels.

The government needs 318 votes to get a deal through the 650-seat House of Commons, as seven members of Irish nationalist party Sinn Fein do not sit, four speakers and deputy speakers do not vote and the four tellers are not counted.

"Many of these companies, in particular, have been unnecessarily placed in a position by this Government where they are already spending vast sums of money on preparations for a no-deal scenario-something that none of us here will ever allow to happen". Some investors and major banks believe May's deal will be defeated on Tuesday but that eventually it will be approved.

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