5 fast Brexit facts you need to know this morning with 15 days to go

Last night the government was dealt another blow – with MPs sending a defiant message to "reject" No Deal Brexit completely.

The revolt by 13 ministers means the pressure cooker for Brexit is at steaming point with MPs’ choices becoming limited.

Having voted against No Deal, they must now either back Theresa May’s deal (which they’ve already rejected twice) or get an extension from the EU.

Tonight at 5pm the House of Commons holds another set of showdown votes – this time on delaying the date we would leave beyond March 29.

But next week we’re also due another, THIRD vote on the Prime Minister’s deal – with a threat to MPs that if they don’t back it, Brexit faces being delayed for years.

Here are the 5 things you need to know this morning.

1. Brexit faces being delayed for two years

Brexit faces being delayed for two years as Theresa May holds her third Commons showdown in as many days.

The Prime Minister will ask MPs to vote on delaying the March 29 date of Brexit as part of a last-ditch ploy to get her deal over the line.

She said there are now two choices – agree a deal in the next week and get a short "technical" delay to Brexit until June.

Or, fail to agree anything and face a much longer delay – meaning Britain has to take part in EU elections.

Now The Telegraph reports that ministers have discussed the prospect of that much longer delay lasting TWO years.

This is not unlike some of the rumours that were going round last week.

It would only be agreed, if the EU agrees to agree it at all, at a last-minute summit of 27 leaders next week.

MPs will however make multiple bids to amend Theresa May’s motion tonight. 

Labour’s John McDonnell said his party will lay an amendment to ensure parliament considers an extension – but it could just be a short one.

2. It looks like we’ll be pushed into a softer Brexit

Many MPs believe the EU may only grant an extension if Britain has a new plan, or at least a new idea.

And the only thing that has a chance of getting past both MPs and the EU is a ‘softer’ Brexit – staying in a customs union, the single market or both.

Downing Street said last night there were "no plans" for indicative votes – a multiple-choice ballot for MPs. But calls are mounting for them, with a possible Commons ambush tonight.

And despite No10’s reluctance, the idea appears to have been pushed publicly by the Tory Chancellor.

Philip Hammond told Sky News: "It’s clear that the House of Commons has to find a consensus around something.

"And if it isn’t the Prime Minister’s deal, I think it’s likely to be something which is much less to the taste of those on the hard Brexit wing of my party."

He added: "We also have to explore other options for parliament to express a view about how we solve this impasse."

John McDonnell said Labour will keep pushing its plans for a softer Brexit.

“Our own proposals are most probably the bedrock of a compromise that can be achieved," he said.   

"There’s a large number of MPs come forward now with their own ideas about how we can reach a compromise and that’s what we should do."

3. But Theresa May will put her deal to a THIRD vote – and this time, there’s a ‘gun to Brexiteers’ heads’

Theresa May has made it all but clear she will try and hold a THIRD vote on her Brexit deal next week.

That’s because the PM said her preference is for getting a deal by March 20 and a short extension to June.

Yet her spokesman confirmed there were no plans to go back to Brussels for more negotiations.

Instead he said: "If the House wishes for the Prime Minister to be in a position where she can request only a short technical extension then a deal would have to be agreed before the end of next week.”

So what’s going to change?

In short – the minds of Brexiteers.

By threatening a two-year delay and a softer Brexit, Theresa May is telling Leavers who are against her that they must back her deal or get no Brexit at all.

Last ditch talks are under way with the DUP and Tory Brexiteers. The talk is around getting “additional” legal advice from Attorney General Geoffrey Cox that the UK could quit the Irish backstop. 

Brexiteers are deeply split about which way to go. 

One Tory ringleader, Steve Baker, told the Commons: "I’ll see to it that we… keep voting this down however many times it’s brought back."

But ERG member Simon Clarke said he will back the deal if it comes to the house again.

Speaking on ITV he said: "There is a gun to my head at this point.

"And I think voters will appreciate we have a very limited range of options left if we want to actually honour the manifesto commitment of leaving the EU at all.

"So effectively it is now a bad Brexit deal or no Brexit, which is absolutely ghastly." 

Speaker John Bercow has raised the prospect that he might not allow a third identical vote to happen.

But Chancellor Philip Hammond told Sky News: "If there is clear evidence that there is a body of support growing for the Prime Minister’s deal then the House of Commons will find a way to allow that support to be expressed."

And he warned Brexiteers will be “thinking very hard about what the alternatives are”.

One Tory told BuzzFeed they will back the deal in a third vote – if Mrs May agrees to quit.

4. The Prime Minister has utterly lost control

Theresa May lost all control of Brexit last night as MPs voted to "reject" No Deal Brexit completely – defeating the PM, throwing Britain into chaos and prompting a government resignation.

In a first vote, and a major upset, they rejected No Deal Brexit 312-308. They then thwacked the PM’s fragile authority in a second, confirmatory vote by a much worse 321 votes to 278.

A Tory DWP minister, Sarah Newton, resigned after defying  Theresa May  to block No Deal completely.

And 12 ministers including four Cabinet ministers – David Gauke, David Mundell, Amber Rudd and Greg Clark – defied her by refusing to cast a vote either way.

Tory Brexiteers are furious that the ministers will not have to resign. Yet Remainer Chancellor Philip Hammond said: "I don’t expect there to be mass sackings as a result of last night."

The pound rose more than 2% on the rejection of ‘no-deal’ and was headed for its biggest daily gain this year.

Yet the vote wasn’t binding, and neither was the ‘prevent no deal’ that Theresa May was meant to support before it all fell apart.

The EU’s deputy chief negotiator Sabine Weyand said scathingly it was “like the Titanic voting for the iceberg to get out of the way.”

5. The Lords have gone nuclear to block No Deal

Peers raised the stakes to avoid the UK crashing out of the EU by backing a move to block critical Brexit legislation in the event of an "accidental" no-deal.

In an unusual step, the House of Lords voted by 193 to 154, majority 39, to support a so-called commencement motion that would prevent the Trade Bill coming into force unless MPs approved leaving without a Withdrawal Agreement.

This was despite ministerial warnings the measure would not rule out a no-deal, but leave the UK without the protections contained in the bill, which would have "a direct and adverse impact" on both consumers and business.

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