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Theresa May’s Government could back a measure which would give ministers the power to change the Brexit departure date.

In a bid to avoid a repeat of her humiliating Commons defeat on Wednesday, the PM is said to have agreed a compromise deal within the ranks of her own party over calls to write the EU leaving date in law.

Another in-party revolt had been brewing over the Government’s plan to enshrine the Brexit deadline of March 29, 2019 into British legislation, a move which many rebel MPs believe could remove the option to extend talks.

But Mrs May might be able to see off a second revolt with the behind-the-scenes compromise.

The concession would still write the date into law but with the option to postpone it if negotiations with Brussels look set to take longer than expected. Parliament would have to agree to allow ministers to change the date.

The Government is understood to be "looking closely" at the amendment, tabled by MPs including Remain supporter Sir Oliver Letwin and Brexiteer Bernard Jenkin.

The suggestion has been supported by some of the rebels who voted against the Government earlier this week.

On Wednesday the PM suffered her first major Commons defeat over the EU Withdrawal Bill after Parliament voted for an amendment which would give MPs a “meaningful vote” on the final Brexit deal.

Brexit secretary David Davis had promised Parliament a “take it or leave it” vote over the agreement – but Conservative backbenchers were not satisfied and wanted the vote guaranteed in law.

Former Cabinet minister Nicky Morgan, one of the rebels who helped inflict Mrs May's first Commons defeat on Wednesday, gave her support to the compromise over the Brexit date.

She said the new amendment "demonstrates how all Conservative MPs can work together" to deliver the best possible Brexit and reflects the flexibility within the Article 50 withdrawal process.

The amendment also emphasises that "Parliament will be fully involved in Brexit", she said.

Former Cabinet minister Nicky Morgan, one of the rebels who helped inflict Mrs May's first Commons defeat on Wednesday, gave her support to the compromise over the Brexit date.

She said the new amendment "demonstrates how all Conservative MPs can work together" to deliver the best possible Brexit and reflects the flexibility within the Article 50 withdrawal process.

The amendment also emphasises that "Parliament will be fully involved in Brexit", she said.

It comes hours after Mrs May received a boost in Brussels as the 27 other EU countries formally agreed to allow negotiations to proceed to their second phase.

Her target was described as "realistic" but "dramatically difficult" to achieve by the president of the European Council, Donald Tusk.

European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker had already warned the hardest part of the talks are still to come.

The EU27 confirmed Brussels' position that a final trade deal cannot be signed until the UK has formally left.
The four-page document also sets out the process for agreeing the terms of a transition period expected to last two years after the date of Brexit.

On Saturday, Tory Eurosceptic Jacob Rees-Mogg warned the prime minister not to accept the two year transition deal which would leave the UK as a "colony” of Brussels.

"We cannot be a colony of the European Union for two years from 2019 to 2021, accepting new laws that are made without any say-so of the British people, Parliament or Government," he told BBC's Newsnight.

"That is not leaving the European Union, that is being a vassal state of the European Union, and I would be very surprised if that were Government policy."

Source: https://www.standard.co.uk/news/politics/theresa-mays-government-could-give-ministers-power-to-change-2019-brexit-date-in-bid-to-avoid-second-a3721221.html