Government facing vote of no confidence after humiliating Brexit defeat

Theresa May suffered a humiliating defeat in a vote for her Brexit plan. Picture: VICTORIA JONES/ PA

Theresa May suffered a humiliating defeat in a vote for her Brexit plan. Picture: VICTORIA JONES/ PA WIRE - Credit: PA

Uncertainty over Britain’s future relationship with the EU continues after the government’s Brexit agreement suffered a humiliating defeat in a crunch vote at the House of Commons.

The Brexit agreement suffered a heavy defeat receiving only 202 votes, losing by 230 to the 432 cast against the deal.

Few people expected the government to win the vote with estimates of the likely scale of the defeat varying enormously.

All six Suffolk Conservative MPs were expected to back Mrs May’s deal – four of them have government positions – while Ipswich Labour MP Sandy Martin was expected to follow his party line and voting against the proposal.

Most Essex MPs were expected to vote against it unless there is a surprising change in the Ulster “Backstop” arrangement at the last minute.

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Heath Secretary, Matt Hancock spoke to the BBC followign the vote.

When questioned about the Prime Minister’s future he said: “She is clearly the best person we have to find a way through this difficult impasse.

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“The house has voted against her deal and not against the Prime Minister.”

Before the vote, Members of Parliament debated the agreement. The Prime Minister said that members should vote for “what is best for the country”. She added, “Today’s vote is not about what is best for the Leader of the Opposition”.

Speaker John Bercow allowed four amendments to be discussed as part of the debate however, to the surprise of many, the leaders of the SNP and Labour, and Conservative MP Sir Edward Leigh decided not to table their amendments, meaning that only one was heard. This amendment, tabled by Tory MP John Baron, was defeated by 600 votes to 24.

Voting started at 7pm and the result of the final vote was announced shortly before 7.40pm.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn tabled a vote of no confidence in the government following the rejection of the agreement by the House of Commons.

In response, Mrs May agreed to debate the motion on Wednesday, January 16 – but the Conservatives are confident that they will be able to defeat any such motion.

All Tory MPs will be whipped to support the government in a confidence motion. Any who vote against it, or even abstain, would be immediately thrown out of the party and would not ever be able to stand as a Conservative in an election again.

If parliament carried on they would have to sit as an independent.

If members of the DUP failed to support the government, the deal with the party after the 2017 election would be torn up – and the benefits that Ulster got from it would immediately cease.

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