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Tory Rebels side with Labour on Bill to quit Europe despite being told it could put Jeremy Corbyn in

Several Tory MPs have joined Labour in demanding Theresa May withdraw a key Brexit legislation amendment to set the exact time of EU departure in law.

Ministers say being "crystal clear" about when the UK will leave on 29 March 2019 will give maximum certainty.

But ex-chancellor Ken Clarke said the move was "silly" while Dominic Grieve said it would "fetter" ministers' hands if talks dragged on to the last minute.

Labour has branded it a "gimmick" and said it will vote against it.

The row came as MPs began debating the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill in depth for the first time, a crucial piece of legislation paving the way for the UK's withdrawal by essentially copying all EU law into UK law.

Tuesday's marathon eight-hour debate is the first of eight sessions over the next month in which MPs will pore over the details of the government's Brexit strategy and seek changes.

The government saw off the first challenge to the bill as Plaid Cymru's call for the Scottish Parliament, Welsh Assembly and Northern Ireland Assembly to give their consent before the 1972 European Communities Act - which paved the way for the UK to originally join the then European Economic Community - can be repealed was defeated by 318 to 52 votes.

As the EU Withdrawal Bill began its detailed scrutiny in the Commons, the rebel group said they were ready to inflict a series of damaging defeats on the Government.

They served notice that they would join forces with Labour to oppose the Government on the detail of the legislation – including Theresa May’s bid to enshrine the Brexit date in law.

It came after almost 20 Tory rebel MPs held a ‘stormy’ meeting with party whips at which they refused to back down – despite warnings they risked bringing Jeremy Corbyn to power.

Culled from BBC and Daily Mail

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