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  1. ITV Report

Brexit crunch time as government faces challenges from court and MPs

A man waves an EU flag outside the Supreme Court. Credit: PA

Brexit planners are set to face a pivotal moment over leaving the EU today as MPs vote on a timetable while a Supreme Court challenge over the government's powers to trigger an exit enters a third day.

David Davis, the minister for Brexit, is expected to face demands for more clarity about Theresa May's plans from rebel members of his own party as well as Labour today.

Faced with a revolt by up to 40 MPs from her own party, the Prime Minister bowed to pressure and backed a Labour motion to publish a plan before negotiating Britain's exit from the European Union.

Labour called Mrs May's move a "significant 11th-hour concession" as they agreed, alongside Tory rebels, to back a compromise government amendment to support her pledge to invoke Article 50 by April.

However MPs are are likely to use the debate to pile pressure onto Mr Davis amid complaints that Mrs May has failed to give sufficient detail over her stance and claims that the government is still struggling to get to grips with the complexity of unravelling their membership of the bloc.

Davis, who will reply to the debate for the government, is also likely to face questions about the apparently accelerating timetable for negotiations, after the EU's lead Brexit official warned the UK will have to reach a deal within 18 months.

David Davis is expected to face questions over details of the plans and the timetable for negotiations. Credit: PA

Shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer will lead the debate for Labour and is expected to call on the PM to set out her "basic plan".

Remain-backing Tories including Anna Soubry has called for a White Paper setting out the different Brexit options for MPs to scrutinise.

A Number 10 source indicated Mrs May could be hoping to expose die-hard Remain supporters in a vote, saying: "Crucially, from our perspective, it's making sure that Parliament are very clear they are not going to use this as a delaying method.

"So it's now down to MPs to signal that they also want to get on with Brexit by supporting our position."

The Prime Minister has been left some room to leave out detail under the motion appearing before MPs today, as it allows her to keep details of the strategy secret if revealing them would damage the UK's position in negotiations.

However, Labour has urged her to publish the plan by the end of January in a possible bid to force her hand.

It came as European Commissioner Michel Barnier warned the UK will not be allowed to "cherry-pick" which EU rights and obligations it wishes to keep, suggesting it cannot stay in the single market if it does not accept free movement.

Before climbing down over the Labour motion, May told ITV News: "I have to keep some cards close to my chest."

"I want to ensure that we get a red, white and blue Brexit. That means a Brexit that is right for the United Kingdom, a Brexit that is the right deal for the UK."