Theresa May suffers new Brexit humiliation as MPs vote against her latest Brexit plans

  • Video report by ITV News Political Correspondent Paul Brand

Theresa May has suffered another humiliating Commons defeat after MPs again voted down her latest Brexit plans.

On another dramatic day at Westminster, MPs voted by 303 to 258 against the motion endorsing the Government's approach.

The defeat came after the pro-Brexit Tory European Research Group announced they had taken a "collective decision" to abstain.

Furious members said supporting the motion would have amounted to an endorsement of efforts to rule out a no-deal Brexit.

A variety of amendments were tabled before Commons Speaker John Bercow selected three to go to a debate and vote on Thursday evening.

  • ITV News Political Correspondent Paul Brand explains what has happened in parliament

Following the vote, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn demanded Mrs May account for the defeat.

To shouts of "where is she?", Mr Corbyn called for the Prime Minister to work with him to "prevent a catastrophic no-deal Brexit".

"It's surprising the Prime Minister is not even here to hear the result of this vote," he said.

"I was going to ask her to come to the despatch box now and admit her strategy has failed and bring forward to the House a coherent plan.

"A coherent plan that can deal with the stresses and anxieties that so many people all over over this country are feeling that can be brought to this House so we can make some progress forward to bring people together and prevent a catastrophic no-deal Brexit on 29th March."

Here are the key amendments and how they played out in Westminster

Labour amendment

Following the vote, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said Mrs May needed to accept her strategy had failed. Credit: House of Commons/PA

Tabled by Jeremy Corbyn and his frontbench, this would require the Government to either call a vote on its withdrawal plan by February 27 or hand control to Parliament to decide the next steps. Liberal Democrats have tacked on their own amendment to this proposal, calling for a second referendum “as endorsed by the Labour Party conference”.

The amendment was defeated by 322 to 306.

Publish the papers

Ahead of the vote, Anna Soubry pulled the amendment after the Government promised to publish its most recent official briefings on the implications of a no-deal Brexit for business and trade.

Tablers Mrs Soubry and Chuka Umunna believe the papers presented to Cabinet paint a chilling picture of the damage which no-deal will do.

SNP option

Tabled by the SNP’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford, this would require the Government to negotiate an extension of at least three months to the Article 50 process.

MPs rejected the amendment by 315 votes to 93.

Government motion

This apparently innocuous motion asks the House to welcome Mrs May’s statement on Tuesday, setting out progress in Brexit talks, note that talks on the Irish backstop are “ongoing” and “reiterate its support” for the approach to negotiations agreed the last time MPs voted, on January 29. The problem for the Government is that MPs voted that day not only to authorise the PM to go back to Brussels and seek a replacement for the controversial Irish backstop, but also for a non-binding motion which would rule out a no-deal outcome. Leave-supporting backbenchers from the European Research Group fear that this would effectively mean signing up to a bar on no-deal.

MPs rejected the motion by 303 votes to 258 - majority 45.

Here are the proposals on the order paper which were rejected:

Alternative vote

A cross-party amendment tabled by the Father of the House, veteran Tory europhile Kenneth Clarke, would allow MPs to vote on their preferred Brexit outcome. Any Brexit option which secures the signatures of 50 or more MPs would be included on a ballot paper, and MPs would be asked to rank them in order of preference. Using an alternative vote system, the least popular option would be excluded and second-preference votes redistributed until one outcome has more than half the votes. There would then be a vote in the Commons on this option. This proposal has the backing of senior Labour backbenchers including Harriet Harman and Jack Dromey as well as Tory Remainers Dominc Grieve and Anna Soubry.

Father of the House Kenneth Clarke wants MPs to vote on Brexit options Credit: Chris McAndrew/UK Parliament/PA

Revoke Article 50

Tabled by the Scottish National Party’s Angus MacNeil and backed by Mr Clarke, this amendment calls on the Government to revoke the letter informing the European Council of the UK’s intention to leave the EU under Article 50 of the treaties, thus ending the Brexit process and allowing Britain to remain a member of the EU.

Indicative votes

This calls for a series of votes on February 26 on various Brexit options including the PM’s Withdrawal Agreement, no-deal, renegotiation of the backstop, a Canada-style deal, Norway-style membership of the EEA and a second referendum. If only one option wins a majority, Mrs May would be required to ask for an extension to Article 50 beyond its March 29 deadline to pursue that outcome. If two or more won majorities, the PM would be required to hold a public vote on those options. If none commanded a majority of MPs, Mrs May would have to call a second referendum with the options of her deal or Remain. Tabled by Conservative Remainer Sarah Wollaston, the proposal has backing from opponents of Brexit across the House.

Plaid Cymru option

Backed by the Welsh nationalist party’s four MPs, this requires the Government to extend Article 50 to provide time for a referendum on Mrs May’s deal or Remain. If no extension is allowed by the EU, the Government would be required to commit itself to a referendum at the end of the transition period in 2021 on whether the UK should rejoin the EU.

Close alignment

An amendment signed by a small group of Labour and Plaid MPs, and tabled by Swansea West’s Geraint Davies, would require an extension of Article 50 and a commitment from the PM to seek a deal – subject to ratification in a referendum – which leaves the option open for future governments to adopt Labour’s current vision for post-Brexit relations with the EU, including a customs union and close alignment with the single market.

Liberal Democrats are seeking a second referendum Credit: Gareth Fuller/PA

Liberal Democrat amendment

Liberal Democrats led by Sir Vince Cable are proposing an extension to Article 50 beyond March 29 to allow time for a second referendum with Remain on the ballot paper.

Three-option referendum

Tabled by Labour backbencher Roger Godsiff, this would require any withdrawal agreement approved by Parliament to be put to the public in a referendum. The ballot paper would have three options – to accept the agreement, leave with no deal or remain in the EU – and voters would be asked to rank them in order of preference under the alternative vote system.