British Prime Minister Theresa May has defeated the final challenges in parliament, with a vote leaving the overall shape of her Brexit strategy intact.
Prime Minister Theresa May has defeated the final challenges to her Brexit blueprint in parliament, leaving plans for Britain's departure from the European Union still largely on track but her authority weakened.
MPs supported the government's position to reject amendments to the EU withdrawal bill that challenged May's commitment to leave the bloc's customs union and single market, leaving the overall shape of her Brexit strategy intact that will transform Britain's trading relationships for decades.
But it was a vote in parliament on Tuesday that left her looking at the mercy of two groups in the governing Conservative Party - those who want to maintain the closest possible ties with the EU, and others pressing for a clean break.
An agreement that defused a potential rebellion over handing parliament more control over Britain's exit from the EU looked in danger of unravelling on Wednesday, when the two camps argued over the shape of a possible compromise on a "meaningful vote".
Before the vote, she assured MPs she would honour her promise and deal with the "concerns raised about the role of parliament in relation to the Brexit process".
There was little doubt the government would win on the customs union and single market, which some pro-EU MPs say is the only way for Britain to retain economically advantageous close ties with the bloc, with the opposition Labour Party also divided over future relations.
Parliament voted 325 to 298 in favour of rejecting a House of Lords amendment to require ministers to report on their efforts in negotiations to secure a customs union.
They also voted against remaining in the European Economic Area, which offers tariff-free access to the EU's single market in return for accepting free movement of people, goods, services and capital, by 327 to 126.
Britain's future trading and customs arrangements after Brexit have become a lightning rod for divisions that have not only plagued May's Conservative Party but also in the Labour Party.
May had faced the prospect of losing the vote on the customs union after rebels had indicated their support for a change introduced by the House of Lords to require ministers to report what efforts they had made to secure a customs union.
But a government proposal to instead report its efforts to secure a customs "arrangement" seems to have been enough to postpone a more searching debate about government policy, with future debates the more likely stage for a revolt.
But it was in the Labour Party where the deepest rifts were exposed. Many of its pro-EU mps went against their leader, Jeremy Corbyn, by supporting the vote and not his amendment which argued for a new single market deal with the EU.
Before the vote on the Labour amendment, which the party lost by 322 to 240, MP Laura Smith resigned from her junior role in the team "shadowing" the cabinet office and four others left their roles as parliamentary private secretaries.