– Theresa May suffers humiliating defeat as MPs vote down her deal by 432 votes to 202
– Jeremy Corbyn tables vote of no-confidence in attempt to trigger General Election
– EU says ‘now is the time to find out what UK parliamentarians want’
– Defeat cements Brexit deadlock increasing prospect Brexit could delayed
Jeremy Corbyn has tabled a motion of no-confidence in Theresa May’s Government after the Prime Minister was handed a crushing defeat in the crunch vote on her Brexit deal.
The Labour leader said the confidence vote, which is expected at 7pm on Wednesday night, would allow the Commons to ‘give its verdict on the sheer incompetence of this Government’.
It came immediately after MPs overwhelmingly rejected the PM’s agreement by 432 votes to 202, the worst defeat suffered by a UK Government in more than 100 years.
118 Tories rebelled against their own leader to bring down the deal.
Mrs May insisted she would not resign despite the catastrophic result, and attempted to reassure MPs that the Government would ‘listen’ to their concerns.
The Prime Minister is set to head back to Brussels in yet another attempt to secure concessions from the EU on the deal – something EU Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker has repeatedly said he is not willing to do.
The will lay out her ‘Plan B’ on Monday in a motion that MPs will be able to amend, opening the door for a second referendum to be put to Parliament.
The EU responded seconds after the result came in. The EU Parliament’s Brexit co-ordinator Guy Verhofstadt said: “The UK Parliament has said what it doesn’t want.
“Now is the time to find out what UK parliamentarians want. In the meantime, the rights of citizens must be safeguarded.”
The result could propel the PM towards a decision to delay Brexit by seeking an extension to Article 50 as time runs out to get a deal approved.
Speaker John Bercow suggested he would facilitate a vote on extending Article 50 in the House of Commons if enough MPs pushed for him to do so.
What happens next?
Downing Street has given little indication as to how the prime minister intends to proceed if she is defeated.
Under the terms of an amendment passed last week, Mrs May must table a motion on her Plan B by Monday – although in practice she is unlikely to want to wait that long.
Some reports have suggested she could fly to Brussels – possibly as early as Wednesday – in an attempt wring further concessions on the crucial issue of the backstop.
A senior EU Commission official confirmed that Jean-Claude Juncker has pulled out of an event tomorrow in order to be in Brussels to deal with Brexit.
Following further talks it is likely that MPs will vote on the deal again in a matter of days.
Mrs May is likely to win the no-confidence vote, which was tabled by Mr Corbyn in the immediate aftermath of the vote, because the DUP and Tory Brexiteers have already pledged to back her.
Will Brexit be delayed?
It is possible that the PM could delay Brexit by seeking an extension to Article 50 if her deal is defeated to allow more time to tinker with the Withdrawal Agreement.
Mrs May’s tone on extending Article 50 has notably softened this week. She continues to say she does not believe doing so would be a good idea, but is not categorically ruling it out.
The EU would have to agree to this, as Britain cannot extend Article 50 without their permission.