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Wednesday morning news briefing:  ‘Brexit is in purgatory’

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Britain on election footing after MPs defy ‘do or die’ deadline

Will Britain go to the polls before the end of next month? After MPs last night backed Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal – but thwarted his “do or die” pledge to leave by Oct 31, the Prime Minister has “paused” legislation while the EU decides whether to grant a further extension and for how long. But if European leaders insist on a three-month delay, Mr Johnson will attempt to call a general election to break the impasse. As Political Editor Gordon Rayner reports, it could be held as early as Nov 28. Search for how your MP voted after the Government’s Withdrawal Agreement Bill was left “in purgatory”, according to Jacob Rees-Mogg. After a day of high drama in Westminster, Camilla Tominey has an essential reconstruction of how defeat was snatched from the jaws of victory in 15 minutes. And Tony Diver examines what (probably) happens next. 

Meanwhile, Europe Editor Peter Foster has been told the Government will face another multi-billion pound Brexit bill if it cannot complete free trade negotiations by the middle of 2020. EU and UK officials are bracing for painful new financial negotiations as trade experts warn there is little prospect of clinching a trade deal with the EU before the transition period expires.

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