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Theresa May must ask the EU to reopen negotiations on her Brexit agreement with a contradictory mandate from Parliament.

MPs have told her to ask for the Northern Ireland “backstop” to be ripped out of the plan, to be replaced with “alternative arrangements” that have not yet been negotiated.

There are two problems with this: Firstly, the EU’s negotiators have made it clear that the agreement will not be renegotiated on the basis of removing the backstop.

But the other winning amendment to Mrs May’s Plan B makes it clear that MPs will not accept no deal – which is what will result if she cannot find common ground with the EU on Northern Ireland.

We all had a glimpse of what will happen to the economy if the UK crashes out of the EU with no deal when another amendment fell. Proposed by Yvette Cooper, it called for the deadline on which the UK must leave the EU to be extended if Mrs May has not achieved a Brexit deal by February 26. Its defeat made “no deal” more likely – and the pound plummetted.

Okay, the drop was only by 0.6 of a cent but it was a clear indication of further falls to come – that the UK economy will lose its value as a result of “no deal”.

The bid to scrap the NI “backstop” provoked angry exchanges in the Commons with the SNP’s Parliamentary leader, Ian Blackford, saying the Tories had “ripped apart” the Good Friday Agreement and jeopardised the Northern Ireland peace process and the DUP’s Parliamentary leader, Nigel Dodds, saying it was “utterly reckless” to say MPs had voted “to drive a coach and horses” through the Good Friday Agreement.

It is worth also noting that Jeremy Corbyn’s amendment – putting forward the Labour Party’s preferences for a Brexit agreement – won more support than Theresa May’s Plan A, two weeks ago.

The amendment proposed “a permanent customs union with the EU, a strong relationship with the single market underpinned by shared institutions and obligations, and dynamic alignment on rights and standards”, coupled with “a public vote on a deal or proposition that has commanded the support of the majority of the House of Commons.”

Mr Corbyn has now agreed to meet Mrs May to discuss the next steps – but he said Labour’s offer has not changed.

What next?

Well, Mrs May still doesn’t have an agreement that Parliament has passed. She has a mandate to seek one and must try to honour it.

Do you think she’ll get anywhere?

I was going to run a poll but let’s be honest – there seems little point.

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