British Prime Minister Theresa May, admitting her Brexit withdrawal plan would be defeated in parliament "by a significant margin", postponed Monday a vote that had been scheduled for the following day.
It comes as the European Court of Justice issued non-binding advice that Britain could revoke Article 50 and halt Brexit, without other EU member states having to agree on it.
Delaying the Brexit vote is a bracing new blow for May, who became prime minister after Britain's 2016 decision to leave the EU.
Announcing the delay, May was laughed at by some lawmakers when she said there was broad support for the deal and that she had listened carefully to different views it - the result of 18 months of tortuous negotiations.
She said the Prime Minister must get rid of the controversial insurance policy created to ensure frictionless trade across the island if no better trade deal is struck.
May's government says the ruling means nothing because it has no intention of reversing its decision to leave the European Union on March 29.
Following the ruling, the group that initially sparked the judicial review process, the pro-Remain Good Law Project, said it was "arguably the most important case in modern domestic legal history".
Despite the ECJ ruling, the government insisted it has no plans to cancel Brexit.
"We don't want to stay in the EU", Gove, who serves as environment minister, told BBC Radio.
"In advance of the European Council I will go to see my counterparts in other member states and the leadership of the Council and the Commission", she said.
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May said that it was her duty to deliver Brexit, and that she would seek reassurances needed by parliament to complete the process.
The future of Brexit remains deeply uncertain as dozens of lawmakers have publicly promised to vote down May's divorce deal, a compromise that allowed the United Kingdom to exit while staying within the EU's orbit.
The judicial body said this could be done without changing the terms of London's membership in the bloc.
This weekend the Labour party said it was ready to run a minority government from Wednesday.
In Monday's ruling the judges ruled that a country's decision to revoke Article 50 after notifying the EU of its decision to withdraw "reflects a sovereign decision to retain its status as a Member State of the European Union, a status which is neither suspended nor altered by that notification", the spokeswoman added.
May faces heavy opposition in parliament to her Brexit deal and many expect her quest for approval to be defeated, setting up further tense talks with the European Union when she goes to Brussels on Thursday for a summit of national leaders.
A spokeswoman for the court said any revocation "must be decided following a democratic process in accordance with national constitutional requirements".
He rejected the contention that the mechanism for a member state to quit the trade bloc could only be reversed following a unanimous decision of the European council.
Monday's ruling follows an opinion delivered last week by the ECJ's advocate general Campos Sanchez-Bordona, who told the court it should allow the United Kingdom to withdraw its notice of intent to leave the bloc.