Advertisement

  1. ITV Report

Brexit: Government suffers defeat on key vote

Theresa May's government has been narrowly defeated in a key Commons vote after a rebellion by Conservative MPs.

Tory rebels backed an amendment to the EU (Withdrawal) Bill, which called for MPs to have a "meaningful vote" on any Brexit deal. The amendment passed by 309 votes to 305, drawing cheers from Labour MPs in the Commons.

The Tory rebellion, led by former attorney general Dominic Grieve, sought the introduction of an amendment that seeks to put into law a vote on the final Brexit deal.

The amendment would open the final Brexit deal up to full parliamentary scrutiny - meaning it could be rewritten by MPs. This could potentially leave the government vulnerable to further revolts over elements of the withdrawal deal.

Rebel Stephen Hammond has been sacked as vice chair of the Conservative Party. Credit: PA

One of the Tory rebels Stephen Hammond has since been sacked as vice chair of the Conservative Party.

A Downing Street spokesman said: "Today the European Parliament voted to move on to the next phase of talks in our departure from the European Union, and tomorrow the Prime Minister will be attending European Council in Brussels, working towards the deep and special partnership we all want to see.

"We respect the will of the House, and will continue to focus on preparing the country to leave the EU in March 2019."

  • Political Editor Robert Peston believes Theresa May's defeat was "significant", but "not a disaster". He adds that the Prime Minister will now appear weakened to the leaders of the other EU 27 countries who may now be emboldened to become tougher on Brexit negotiations.

Tory rebel Nicky Morgan tweeted: "Tonight Parliament took control of the EU Withdrawal process."

Another rebel, Commons Health Committee chairwoman Sarah Wollaston said the move was a "parliamentary victory" rather than a Government defeat, tweeting: "Proud to have supported a #MeaningfulVote".

Some Tory would-be rebels including George Freeman and Vicky Ford were reassured by justice minister Dominic Raab's promise that fresh limits on powers in the bill and voted against the amendment.

Theresa May arrives for The Sun Military Awards after her Commons defeat. Credit: PA

Before the vote, Mr Grieve had said it was his time to "stand up and be counted".

Mrs May and Brexit Secretary David Davis had sought to head-off the rebellion with assurances MPs would have a "meaningful" vote on the terms of Brexit.

At Prime Minister's Questions, Mrs May said: "We will put the final withdrawal agreement between the UK and the EU to a vote in both Houses of Parliament before it comes into force."

Westminster would be given a vote ahead of the European Parliament and "well before" the date of Brexit in March 2019, she said.

Mr Davis wrote to Tory MPs and issued a written ministerial statement committing the government to "a number of votes" on the final deal struck with Brussels.

Dominic Grieve during day seven of the Bill's committee stage.