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Theresa May: This is the only “facepalm” shot of her that I have, so I’ll keep using it wherever I think it is appropriate.

If the first of the five Brexit deal debates is any yardstick, the Tories are screwed seven ways from Saturday.

Not only did they become the first British government ever to be found guilty of contempt of Parliament, but they lost the right to dictate the Brexit process in a major rebellion by Tory MPs.

Previously, if MPs voted down Mrs May’s deal, the government would have 21 days to return to the Commons, and declare what it planned to do next. MPs would be confined to taking note of the new plan.

Now – by a vote of 321 to 299 against – if MPs vote down the deal, the government would still have 21 days to set out a new plan, but MPs would be able to vote on that, too.

It shifts the balance of power back where it belongs – with Parliament having superiority over the government.

This fact was proved in the “contempt of Parliament” debate; the government was right to lose because it had tried to overrule the will of Parliament and Parliament is sovereign.

In practical terms, this means Mrs May’s deal is even more certain to land at the bottom of the circular file, leaving MPs clear to push for a “Plan B” alternative that will also end the likelihood of a “no-deal” Brexit.

And that’s only the result of day one.

Who knows what the rest of the week will bring?

It seems those who claimed Mrs May might withdraw her entire plan before the weekend may prove correct after all.

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