Brexit live: Large majority of British MPs vote to seek Brexit delay

MPs announcing the result of the Brexit vote. Photo: House of Commons/PA

Latest: British MPs have approved a Government motion which aims to extend the Brexit process by 412 votes to 202, majority 210.

Earlier, a series of amendments to the motion were all rejected by MPs.

Following the vote, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn reiterated his support for a People’s Vote.

He said: “today I reiterate my conviction that a deal can be agreed based on our alternative plan that can command support across the House.

“I also reiterate our support for a People’s Vote – not as a political point-scoring exercise but as a realistic option to break the deadlock.”

On the rejection of a second referendum, Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable told the Press Association: “Jeremy Corbyn didn’t follow through on his promise to support it.

“Clearly he has difficulties with the issue, despite the support of Labour MPs and Labour voters.

“It is disappointing, but I think it will come back again in the same way Theresa May’s deal keeps coming back.”

David Davis, the former Brexit secretary, has described Labour’s position on a second referendum as “spectacular indecision”.

He tweeted: “Spectacular indecision on the part of @UKLabour on the issue of a second referendum.”

Shortly after the vote, the EU Commission’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier tweeted that a meeting with Romanian PM Viorica Dancila had been “calm and respectful of #UK parliamentary procedures”.

“Determined to defend EU interests and to build an ambitious EU/UK future relation as soon as possible,” he added.

UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock insisted that it might still be possible for Brexit to happen on March 29 despite the Commons vote to seek an extension.

He told Sky News: “I still want to deliver the Prime Minister’s deal by March 29, that is my preference.

“It is very difficult and tight to do that, but it is possible and tonight’s votes confirm that.”

Mr Hancock added: “What the EU has made clear is that if we don’t vote for the deal – which I very much hope we will get the chance to vote on next week – if we don’t vote for that deal then the only alternative is a long extension.”

Conservative MP Nick Boles, who backed the amendment to give Parliament control of the Brexit process, tweeted: “It’s frustrating to have lost so narrowly but we have achieved our main goals: to stop no-deal Brexit on March 29, to get the PM to seek an Article 50 extension and to secure amendable motion on March 25 so MPs can start debating Brexit compromises.”

Wales First Minister Mark Drakeford tweeted: “While I welcome the commitment to extend Article 50, this must be done now. The later we leave this, the greater the chance of us stumbling out of the EU without a deal in two weeks’ time.

“The PM’s deal has already been comprehensively rejected twice & by a historic majority. There is nothing more she can squeeze from this. She must now accept defeat & change course to reach a consensus that benefits the whole of the UK.”

Earlier: British MPs are being asked to vote on a motion tabled by Theresa May which would authorise the British Prime Minister to seek an extension of the two-year Article 50 negotiations, delaying Brexit beyond March 29.

The Prime Minister’s motion says that if the House of Commons has approved her Withdrawal Agreement and the framework for the future UK/EU relationship by March 20, she will seek a one-off extension until June 30 to allow time for the necessary legislation to be passed. MPs have tabled a number of amendments to Mrs May’s proposal.

Four amendments under consideration

    The amendments are:
  • Amendment H, tabled by Independent Group MP Sarah Wollaston and which seeks an Article 50 extension to stage a second referendum with Remain and Parliament’s preferred Brexit option on the ballot paper.
  • Amendment I, tabled by Labour’s Hilary Benn and which seeks to allow MPs to take control of the Brexit process.
  • Amendment E, Labour’s amendment which notes that Parliament has “decisively” rejected both Theresa May’s deal and no deal and calls for a delay to Brexit “to provide parliamentary time for this House to find a majority for a different approach”.
  • Amendment J, Labour MP Chris Bryant’s amendment to stop a third meaningful vote on Mrs May’s deal.

Update: Labour MP Chris Bryant withdrew his amendment to stop a third meaningful vote on Theresa May’s Brexit deal.

Update: MPs have rejected a Labour amendment which calls for a delay to Brexit “to provide parliamentary time for this House to find a majority for a different approach” by 318 votes to 302, majority 16.

Update: MPs have rejected an amendment which seeks to allow the House of Commons to decide what kind of Brexit deal should be negotiated by 314 votes to 312, majority two.

Meanwhile, Labour MP Ruth Smeeth has resigned as an aide to deputy leader Tom Watson “in order to vote against a second referendum”.

The Stoke MP wrote on Twitter: “This was a difficult decision but I have a duty to support the will of my constituents. We need to leave, and leave with a deal that works for the Potteries.”

Update: MPs have rejected an amendment which seeks to extend Article 50 to June 30 to find a way forward with majority support by 314 votes to 311, majority 3.

The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said he was awaiting the completion of votes in the House of Commons “with patience”, but believed the Withdrawal Agreement reached in November remains “the only one available”.

In a speech in Romania, Mr Barnier said: “What we need to move ahead is not a negative vote against no-deal. We need a constructive and positive vote.”

A Pro Leave EU protester campaigns outside the British parliament in London today.

He added: “I will continue to exercise patience and calm and to remain respectful of the UK and its people and of its legislative and parliamentary procedures. We will be expecting and awaiting the votes in that spirit.”

Holding up a copy of his Withdrawal Agreement, Mr Barnier said: “If the UK still wants to leave the EU and wishes to leave it in an orderly fashion – which is what the Prime Minister said – then this treaty … is the only one available.”

Update: MPs have rejected an amendment which seeks to extend Article 50 to stage a second Brexit referendum by 334 votes to 85, majority 249.

Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay urged MPs not for vote for Hilary Benn’s amendment, confirming the Government will bring back another motion to Parliament before the March 29 EU exit date.

Winding up the debate he said: “The Government will make our statement under section 13.4 tomorrow setting out how the Government proposes to proceed in relation to negotiation.

“And so there will be the option of an amendable motion no later than Monday, March 25.”

He finished by saying: “It is time for this House to act in the National Interest, it’s time to put forward an extension that is realistic.”

Earlier: MPs to vote on extending Article 50

British MPs have gathered in the Commons to vote on a motion which would authorise Theresa May to seek an extension of the two-year Article 50 negotiations, delaying Brexit beyond March 29.

British Chancellor Philip Hammond said he is “certain” MPs would vote in favour of the British Prime Minister’s motion, adding: “Whatever happens, if we don’t get the deal through in the next couple of days, the Prime Minister has to go the European Council next week and seek an extension of time.”

MPs on Wednesday night voted to rule out a no-deal Brexit.

(PA Graphics)

Here’s the latest from Westminster:

Speaker John Bercow has selected four amendments – and one amendment to an amendment – for debate, but not all of them will necessarily be pushed to a vote.

Ahead of the votes, the Independent Group of MPs are pushing ahead with a cross-party amendment calling for a new Brexit referendum despite expecting it to be voted down, sources said.

A Tig source said: “I think it would be an absolute travesty if we get to the end of this process and Parliament has been too spineless to actually press an amendment.

“We absolutely refute this idea that it is one shot. We will be bringing it every opportunity now.

“I am under no illusion, without unequivocal Labour Party support it cannot pass.

“I fully expect the Labour Party to feel the heat and to get round to backing it next week.”

- Press Association

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