Brexit: MPs dramatically reject no-deal Brexit - by just four votes

Prime Minister Theresa Ma.'Image by House of Commons/PA Wire.
Prime Minister Theresa Ma.'Image by House of Commons/PA Wire.

MPs have rejected leaving the European Union without a deal at any time and under any circumstances.

The Commons voted 312 to 308 – a majority of four – in favour of an amendment tabled by Tory former cabinet minister Dame Caroline Spelman.

Dame Caroline attempted to withdraw the amendment, but it was moved by fellow signatory Yvette Cooper and won the support of a majority of MPs during a string of crunch Brexit votes on Wednesday evening.

The amendment is not legally binding, but it changes the Government’s motion to say the House “rejects the United Kingdom leaving the European Union without a Withdrawal Agreement and a Framework for the Future Relationship”.

Theresa May said on Tuesday night that she would bring forward a motion on Thursday on whether Parliament wants to seek an extension to Article 50, if the Commons declined to approve leaving without a deal.

However no-deal remains the default option unless an extension is agreed with the 27 other EU states, or a deal is passed before the end of the month.

To avoid a walkout by Cabinet ministers who oppose a no-deal Brexit, Mrs May has given Tories a free vote on the Government motion.

The wording of the motion declares the Commons “declines to approve” leaving without a deal on March 29 – but notes that remains the default position unless an agreement is reached.

An extension to Article 50 can only be granted by unanimity among the 27 remaining EU member states, and Brussels has made clear they will do so only if the UK presents a “credible” justification for being given more time.

On the result South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck said she will do all that she can to ensure a decent deal is secured.

She said: "I voted against the PMs deal, as I did last time it was before the House.

"It has been a frustrating night in the Commons and has taken yet another crushing defeat for the PM to accept that different options other than just her deal or no deal need to come before the House for debate.

"This is something that she should have done a long time ago.

"The timing now means that Article 50 will need to be extended.

"I genuinely wanted the Prime Minister to get a good deal.

"Many of us on the Labour bench argued for her to build a good consensus for a deal that would command the majority of the House.

"Instead she expelled all of her energy on placating the ERG and the DUP.

"Her intransigence, red lines and the bitter divisions on the Tory benches over Europe have led us to the mess we are in now.

"I promise in the votes to come that I will do all I can to make sure the result of the referendum is honoured and a decent deal is secured for the people of Shields."