As British MPs vote to play a bigger role in Brexit, Foreign Office minister Alistair Burt and health minister Steve Brine reportedly resign while business minister Richard Harrington quits on Twitter.
British lawmakers seized a measure of control over the stalled Brexit process from Prime Minister Theresa May's foundering government Monday, setting up a series of votes that could dramatically alter the course of the UK's departure from the European Union.
The move came after May conceded that Parliament would defeat her twice-rejected divorce deal with the EU again if she put it to a third vote.
EU leaders last week granted Britain a two-stage "flextension" to Brexit, which had been due to take place on March 29. Under the new plan, if UK lawmakers approve the divorce deal agreed upon between Britain and the bloc, the country will leave the EU on May 22.
If they defeat it, Britain has until April 12 to tell the EU what it plans to do next: leave without a deal, risking economic chaos, or seek a long delay to Brexit and chart a course toward a softer exit or even remaining in the bloc.
What can the MPs do next?
With Brexit delayed and the new departure date up in the air, the House of Commons voted to give itself temporary control of the parliamentary timetable starting on Wednesday so lawmakers can vote on alternatives to May's withdrawal deal.
The government usually controls the scheduling of votes in Parliament.
Lawmakers who backed Monday's motion, which passed 329-302, hope the planned "indicative votes" will narrow the options down to one that can secure majority support.
Possible options include a "soft Brexit" that maintains close economic ties with the EU.
MPs will now have the chance to vote on revoking Article 50 and cancelling Brexit or holding another referendum.
But even if MPs decide a majority course of action, the government is not legally bound to follow their instructions.
"The government will continue to call for realism — any options considered must be deliverable in negotiations with the EU," the Brexit ministry said.
Three government ministers quit their posts so they could back the motion against the government.
Richard Harrington, who resigned as a junior business minister, accused the government of "playing roulette with the lives and livelihoods of the vast majority of people in this country" by failing to resolve Britain's Brexit impasse.
The government said it was disappointed by the vote, claiming it "upends the balance between our democratic institutions and sets a dangerous, unpredictable precedent for the future."
But it also conceded that the new votes might be a way to break the months-long Brexit gridlock.
May said she would "engage constructively" with the results of the process, though she said she was sceptical that it would produce a decisive result.
The move raises the chances that Britain will tack toward a softer Brexit, and is likely to be welcomed by the EU.
Guy Verhofstadt, the European Parliament's Brexit coordinator, tweeted that it was an "opportunity to build cross-party cooperation leading to an enhanced political declaration & a closer future relationship!"
TRT World's Simon McGregor-Wood has more from Westminster.
The end of May?
British politicians are divided over Brexit, but they agree that the process is in a mess — and many blame May, who has refused to consider alternatives to her deal and failed to win changes to the agreement from the EU.
Many Conservatives are now calling for May to step down. Some pro-Brexit Tories who have so far opposed her deal say they would support it if she promised to hand over the next stage of negotiations — when Britain and the EU will hammer out their future relations — to a new leader.
For now, May is standing firm. Under Conservative rules, May cannot face a formal leadership challenge from within her own party until December because she survived one three months ago.
Britain's best-selling tabloid, The Sun, put a call on its front page for the prime minister to resign under the headline "Time's up, Theresa."
May is hanging on, hoping she can persuade Brexit-backing lawmakers that rejecting her deal means Britain may never leave the EU.
She told lawmakers that Britain would not leave the EU without a deal unless Parliament — which has already rejected the idea — voted for it.
Earlier in the day, May acknowledged, "with great regret," that her deal still lacked "sufficient support" to be approved as of Monday.
She said she hoped to hold a third vote on the agreement later this week and was working to build support for the deal, which sets out the terms of withdrawing from the EU and the outline of future relations with the bloc.
Where the EU stands
In agreeing to the postponement, European leaders hoped Britain's deadlocked politicians would find a solution to the crisis. But the EU isn't counting on it.
The European Commission said Monday it had completed planning for a no-deal Brexit, calling that outcome "increasingly likely."
The EU said its members would be able to cope with a no-deal departure, although more remained to be done on ensuring an open border between EU member Ireland and the UK's Northern Ireland — something both sides have agreed to.
Checkpoints there were a source of tension and a target during the decades of sectarian violence before Northern Ireland's 1998 peace accord.
An EU official said the bloc was in "in intense discussions with the Irish authorities about these matters."
May stands little chance of getting the deal she struck with the EU approved unless she can win over Brexit-backing lawmakers in her Conservative Party and its Northern Irish ally, the Democratic Unionist Party.
The DUP said Monday that the party's "position remains unchanged."
Opponents of Brexit feel the political tide may be turning in their favour. Hundreds of thousands of people marched through London on Saturday calling for a new referendum on whether to leave the EU or remain.
But with the deadline for a Brexit decision less than three weeks away, British politicians remain divided, and increasingly despairing about the country's political gridlock.
"Brexit is like the Death Star of politics," Conservative legislator George Freeman said. "I always feared it would be like this. It's destroying and soaking up all the prime minister's room for manoeuvre and political goodwill.
"I've never known this country so divided, so angry and in such a dangerous state," he said.