THERESA May is facing a titanic battle over her flagship Brexit bill after more than 100 amendments were tabled within hours of it passing its first parliamentary hurdle.

Some 157 amendments to the EU Withdrawal Bill, covering 59 pages, were published, including many from senior Conservative europhiles.

The Prime Minister hailed what she called was an historic decision to “back the will of the British people and vote for a Bill which gives certainty and clarity ahead of our withdrawal from the European Union".

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But Sir Keir Starmer, the Shadow Brexit Secretary, denounced the legislation as an “affront to parliamentary democracy and a naked power-grab by Government ministers”.

He went on: “It leaves rights unprotected, it silences Parliament on key decisions and undermines the devolution settlement.”

Labour would seek to amend the Bill to improve it but, Sir Keir admitted, the “flaws are so fundamental it's hard to see how this Bill could ever be made fit for purpose".

The bill cleared its second reading in the House of Commons by a margin of 36 early on Tuesday, after a mooted rebellion by Remain-backing Tories failed to materialise and seven Labour MPs rebelled against Jeremy Corbyn to vote with the Government.

But the raft of changes proposed by Tories including former ministers Kenneth Clarke, Dominic Grieve and Anna Soubry, serves notice on the Prime Minister that she faces a rough ride in the remaining stages of the Bill's passage.

Last night, there was another battle over the Government’s attempt to change the rules to enable it to have a majority in the committee, which will scrutinise the bill in detail. Ministers believe it is a common sense move as otherwise any defeat the Tories suffered in committee would have to be overturned in the Commons chamber, where Mrs May has a working majority thanks to the Democratic Unionists.

But Pete Wishart for the SNP said: “What we are seeing is the ramping up of the Great Tory power-grab at Westminster. Not content with giving itself unprecedented powers with the EU Withdrawal Bill, this government is now trying to manipulate the committees of the House of Commons. The Government does not command a majority in the House and it should therefore not have a majority on the committees.”

Meanwhile, appearing before the Lords Economic Committee, Philip Hammond said the Government wanted agreement on the Brexit transition period that would look “a lot like the status quo”.

The Chancellor told peers: “There is general agreement that it would not make sense to ask business to face two sets of changes and that implies that a transition or interim period would need to look a lot like the status quo, otherwise businesses will be making one set of changes at the beginning of the interim period and another set towards the end of it.”

Elsewhere, Downing Street confirmed the fourth round of talks with Brussels would be put back a week to that starting September 25 to give negotiators "flexibility to make progress".

But it follows a prediction from Guy Verhofstadt, the European Parliament’s chief Brexit co-ordinator, that the talks would be pushed back because the PM was due to make a “serious intervention” with a keynote speech on Brexit and the transition period. No 10 has so far declined to comment on this.