As the countdown continues to the scheduled date of Brexit on March 29, here is what has been happening over the past week.
Days to go
What happened this week?
Theresa May somehow contrived to turn a supposedly meaningless vote into a humiliating defeat on Thursday, as the Brexiteers of the European Research Group, led by Jacob Rees-Mogg, abstained rather than give any impression that they approved of taking no-deal off the table.
Ministers warned the 45-vote defeat would not help persuade Brussels the Prime Minister was in a position to deliver a Commons majority for whatever concessions they might offer her.
The week began with trips to Brussels and Strasbourg by Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay to sweet-talk officials and MEPs, while Mrs May continued her campaign of telephone diplomacy, speaking to EU leaders including Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel.
What happens next?
Mrs May now has two weeks to secure a Withdrawal Agreement acceptable to the Commons before the next set of Brexit votes on February 27. This date is widely seen as the “high noon” moment when, if she has not got an agreement, critics must resign or rebel in order to see off a no-deal outcome.
No meetings or phone calls have been announced, but the PM can be expected to be involved in intensive talks with Brussels and other EU capitals.
Having cancelled Parliament’s half-term recess, the Government has given those MPs who deign to remain in Westminster the thin gruel of a series of Brexit-related statutory instruments to debate.
The prominent pro-EU Tory scored a significant victory when ministers agreed to let her view Cabinet papers on the economic impact of a no-deal Brexit. She aims to publish chunks of the guidance, which she believes paints a chilling picture of the damage withdrawal without an agreement may do.
The official heading the UK’s Brexit negotiation team came under fire after being overheard in a Brussels hotel bar talking about the possibility of a lengthy extension to Article 50 talks.
Quote of the week
“Labour is red, Tories are blue, our future is bright, with a good deal in sight, for the UK and our friends in the EU.” Andrea Leadsom, getting poetical in the House of Commons for the Valentine’s Day Brexit debate.
Tweet of the week
Foreign Office minister Alistair Burt, responding to Brexiteers saying the Government will take the UK out of the EU without a deal if no agreement is approved:
“No. We won’t. We are not leaving without a deal. If you want to leave, you’d better agree one. In the next fortnight would help.”
Word of the week
Business minister Richard Harrington accused the hardline eurosceptics of the ERG of “treachery” and said they were “not Conservatives” and should go and join Nigel Farage’s new Brexit Party.
Meanwhile, Mr Farage himself called for Mr Robbins to be sacked for “treachery and incompetence”.