Theresa May is facing another potentially humiliating Brexit showdown in the Commons, just 24 hours after her latest crushing defeat.
MPs will vote on ruling out a no-deal Brexit, after the prime minister was forced to concede a free vote for Conservative MPs to avoid ministerial resignations.
If MPs vote against no-deal, 24 hours later they will vote on extending Article 50, which if carried would mean the UK would not leave the EU on the proposed date of March 29.
The PM announced the next rounds in her Commons Brexit battle – with her voice croaking so badly she was barely audible – immediately after her withdrawal deal was defeated by 391 votes to 242 – a majority of 149.
But there will be no rest for Mrs May’s voice.
As well as the usual Wednesday session of Prime Minister’s Questions, she has vowed to open the debate on no-deal and take interventions from MPs.
Almost overshadowed by the Brexit chaos engulfing the government, Chancellor Philip Hammond’ spring statement on the economy will come in between PMQs and the no-deal debate.
Before the Brexit debate gets under way, the government will publish further details of its own no-deal plans, including tariff rates for imports revealed by Sky News economics editor Ed Conway last week.
Defending her controversial decision to allow Tory MPs a free vote on no deal, which will incense Brexiteers, the prime minister said: “I have personally struggled with this choice as I am sure many other MPs will.
“I am passionate about delivering the result of the referendum. But I equally passionately believe that the best way to do that is to leave in an orderly way with a deal and I still believe there is a majority in the House for that course of action.
“And I am conscious also of my duties as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of the potential damage to the Union that leaving without a deal could do when one part of our country is without devolved governance.”
The motion to be debated will be: That this House declines to approve leaving the European Union without a Withdrawal Agreement and a Framework on the Future Relationship on 29 March 2019; and notes that leaving without a deal remains the default in UK and EU law unless this House and the EU ratify an agreement.
But a group of Leave and Remain Tory MPs have already tabled an amendment proposing a “standstill” agreement lasting as late as the end of 2021, during which the UK would observe EU rules and pay into Brussels budgets while a full trade deal is negotiated.
Concluding her post-vote statement to MPs, the prime minister said: “Voting against leaving without a deal and for an extension does not solve the problems we face.
“The EU will want to know what use we mean to make of such an extension.
“This House will have to answer that question. Does it wish to revoke Article 50? Does it want to hold a second referendum? Or does it want to leave with a deal but not this deal?
“These are unenviable choices, but thanks to the decision the House has made this evening they must now be faced.”
MPs were surprised to hear the PM mention a second referendum as a possible option to break the Brexit deadlock, particularly after Jeremy Corbyn failed to mention it – despite it being Labour policy – in his response.
Mr Corbyn said his party would once more put forward its own proposal for a deal and repeated his demand for a general election.
“The prime minister has run down the clock and the clock has been run out on her,” said the Labour leader.
“It’s time that we have a general election and the people can choose who their government should be.”
Criticising the free vote for Conservative MPs, a Labour spokesman said: “Allowing a free vote on no deal shows Theresa May has given up any pretence of leading the country.
“Once again, she’s putting her party’s interests ahead of the public interest.”
On extending Article 50, a spokesman for European Council president Donald Tusk said: “It is difficult to see what more we can do.
“If there is a solution to the current impasse it can only be found in London.”
He added: “Should there be a UK reasoned request for an extension, the EU27 will consider it and decide by unanimity.
“The EU27 will expect a credible justification for a possible extension and its duration.
“With only 17 days left to March 29, today’s vote has significantly increased the likelihood of a no-deal Brexit.
“We will continue our no-deal preparations and ensure that we will be ready if such a scenario arises.”
Brexit Crisis Live: Watch Sky News’ special programme from 6pm as MPs vote on ruling out a no-deal Brexit