Proposals to force Theresa May to delay the date of Brexit – again – have passed through both the House of Lords and House of Commons.
With just days to go before the Brexit deadline, the PM will now have to ask the EU to extend Article 50 in order to avoid no-deal.
The cross-party European Union (Withdrawal) (No 5) Bill was raced through on Monday night, received royal assent just after 11pm and has now become law.
Peers made two changes to the Bill, removing a significant sting for the prime minister, then sent it back to the Commons for signing off.
The legislation was tabled by Labour former minister Yvette Cooper last week, to force Mrs May to delay Brexit beyond April 12.
Speaking after the Bill passed, Ms Cooper said: ‘Both houses of Parliament have tonight strongly made clear their view that a no deal would be deeply damaging to jobs, manufacturing and security of our country, and also set out support for the Prime Minister in securing an agreement later this week.
‘But these are unprecedented circumstances.’
Peers changed the text of the so-called ‘Cooper Bill’ to say Mrs May cannot ask for a date before 22 May.
Britain is on track to leave the EU this Friday but the prime minister has chosen not to pursue a no-deal divorce and announced she will seek another deadline anyway.
Tory MP Sir Bill Cash had attempted to stop the Bill but his amendment to prevent a further Brexit delay beyond May 22 was rejected by 392 votes to 85, a majority of 307.
Theresa May meets with EU leaders at an emergency summit on Wednesday where she will ask for a further delay.
Tories confirmed they are already preparing for European Parliament elections at the end of May, something the PM had previously been desperate to avoid.
She is to make a whistle-stop trip to Berlin and Paris for last-minute talks with Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron on the eve of the emergency summit.
The unanimous agreement of all 27 EU member states is needed to avoid the UK leaving without a deal on Friday.
European Council president Donald Tusk has already recommended a one-year extension to the Brexit process, with a break clause allowing an earlier departure if a withdrawal deal is ratified in Westminster.
The Government’s cross-party talks with Labour are ongoing tonight as the Prime Minister desperately seeks to agree a deal that will be backed by both sides of the Commons.
She hopes to have a solution ratified in time to allow the UK to leave the EU by May 22, avoiding the need to take part in European Parliament elections the following day.
But a Cabinet Office spokesperson tonight said the Government has ‘taken the necessary steps required by law should we have to participate’ in European Parliamentary elections – an embarrassing admission that Mrs May’s plan might not come off after all.