It all started in the morning, when in a landmark ruling the European Union's top court said the UK may unilaterally reverse its decision to leave the 28-member bloc prior to its scheduled exit on March 29 next year.

By early noon, May's already tenuous grip on Brexit appeared further weakened as whispers began to circulate that she would postpone a parliamentary voteon the widely criticised Brexit deal she negotiated with the EU, contradicting statements made by several officials earlier in the day.


When May finally announced that Tuesday's vote was being delayed, acknowledging that her agreement would have been rejected, opposition MPs accused her of "losing control of events" and members of her own ruling party called on her to "govern or quit".

"The situation is utterly confused," said Simon Usherwood, a reader in politics at the University of Surrey and deputy director of the UK in a Changing Europe group.

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