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UK Prime Minister Theresa May meeting King of Bahrain. Stefan Wermuth
article 50

Theresa May has scored a symbolic win in her plan for a speedy Brexit

But her government may have to show its negotiating hand.

UK PRIME MINISTER Theresa May secured a symbolic victory on Brexit today after MPs agreed not to delay her plans to begin exit talks by the end of March.

May did, however, have to promise to give them more details of her negotiating strategy.

Labour’s original motion demanded the government publish its “plan” before triggering EU Article 50, which begins the two-year exit process.

This motion had been expected to draw support from dozens of May’s Conservative MPs but the premier fended off a rebellion with a last-minute amendment.

The amendment accepted the Labour motion on condition that MPs support her timetable for triggering the Brexit talks.

Following the results, Labour MP Hilary Benn said he hoped the vote would prompt the government to give more information on its plans for negotiating Britain’s future outside the European Union.

“When they have said they are going to publish a plan, I expect to see some detail,” he told BBC News.

Parliament doesn’t intend to be a bystander, parliament intends to be a participant.

Former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith said the vote was “a very historic moment” which enabled the government to act on Brexit.

“The government now has a blank cheque, and I think that’s a good thing,” he told Sky News.

Despite the March timeline, May has refused to give a “running commentary” on her strategy, insisting that revealing her hand prematurely would undermine the negotiations.

Today’s vote is non-binding with the government still fighting a Supreme Court case that they hope will allow May trigger Article 50 without a parliament vote.

Ministers made it clear that today’s vote intended to flush out those MPs who may seek to delay Brexit if it comes to a commons vote.

“It’s always been our intention to lay out the strategy in more detail when possible and provided it does not undermine the UK’s negotiating position,” Brexit minister David Davis told MPs.

Our amendment also lays out an important challenge to those on the benches opposite who say they respect the result of the referendum, but whose actions suggest they are looking for every opportunity to thwart and delay it.

‘A trap’

Labour’s Brexit spokesman Keir Starmer welcomed the amendment, saying the government had “caved in” and “must now prepare its plan and publish it”.

He called for an outline plan by January, warning that his party would not accept a “late, vague plan” that allowed no time for parliamentary debate.

May has previously said she wants the “best possible deal” for trade with the EU, to create new deals outside the bloc and to control immigration.

© – AFP 2016 with reporting by Rónán Duffy 

Read: Brexit has led to ‘a tsunami’ of new solicitors in Ireland from the UK >

Read: Boris Johnson shuts down interview when asked name of South Korea’s president >

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