MPs back votes on Brexit alternatives by 329 votes to 302

MPs have voted to take control of Commons business in an unprecedented move to try to find a majority for any Brexit option.

The government was defeated by 329 votes to 302 on the cross-party amendment, a majority of 27.

Thirty Tory MPs voted against the government, including three ministers – Richard Harrington, Alistair Burt and Steve Brine.

The three have now resigned from their junior ministerial jobs.

LIVE: MPs take control of Brexit process
Labour’s Shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer called the government’s defeat “humiliating”.

Following the vote, Sir Keir tweeted: “Another humiliating defeat for a prime minister who has lost complete control of her party, her Cabinet and of the Brexit process.

“Parliament has fought back – and now has the chance to decide what happens next.”

Theresa May had tried to head off a defeat by offering MPs a series of votes on Brexit alternatives, organised by the government.

She said allowing MPs to take over the Commons agenda would have set an “unwelcome precedent”.

But supporters of the amendment, tabled by Conservative MP Sir Oliver Letwin, said they did not trust the government to give MPs a say on the full range of Brexit options.

The so-called indicative votes are set to take place on Wednesday.

MPs will be able to vote on a series of options – likely to include a “softer Brexit” and another referendum – designed to test the will of Parliament to see what, if anything, commands a majority.

The prime minister said she was “sceptical” about the process – as it was not guaranteed to produce a majority for any one course of action – and she would not commit the government to abiding by the result.

“No government could give a blank cheque to commit to an outcome without knowing what it is,” she told MPs.

“So I cannot commit the government to delivering the outcome of any votes held by this House. But I do commit to engaging constructively with this process.”

The government narrowly defeated a bid by Labour’s Dame Margaret Beckett to give MPs a vote on asking for another Brexit extension if a deal has not been approved by 5 April. Dame Margaret’s amendment was voted down by 314 to 311, a majority of three.

BBC

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Ed Moya

Ed Moya

Senior Market Analyst, The Americas at OANDA
With more than 20 years’ trading experience, Ed Moya is a senior market analyst with OANDA, producing up-to-the-minute intermarket analysis, coverage of geopolitical events, central bank policies and market reaction to corporate news. His particular expertise lies across a wide range of asset classes including FX, commodities, fixed income, stocks and cryptocurrencies. Over the course of his career, Ed has worked with some of the leading forex brokerages, research teams and news departments on Wall Street including Global Forex Trading, FX Solutions and Trading Advantage. Most recently he worked with TradeTheNews.com, where he provided market analysis on economic data and corporate news. Based in New York, Ed is a regular guest on several major financial television networks including CNBC, Bloomberg TV, Yahoo! Finance Live, Fox Business and Sky TV. His views are trusted by the world’s most renowned global newswires including Reuters, Bloomberg and the Associated Press, and he is regularly quoted in leading publications such as MSN, MarketWatch, Forbes, Breitbart, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. Ed holds a BA in Economics from Rutgers University.
Ed Moya