Theresa May suffers historic defeat after MPs reject her Brexit deal

theresa may brexit deal summitGetty

  • Theresa May's Brexit deal rejected by the UK parliament.
  • MPs in the House of Commons voted by a margin of 432 to 202 against the deal.
  • It is the biggest Commons defeat for a British government in over a century.
  • The prime minister has until Monday to tell MPs what she plans to do next.

LONDON - Theresa May has suffered a historic defeat after her Brexit deal was rejected by MPs in the House of Commons by the largest margin in modern times.

The House of Commons voted by 432 to 202 against her Brexit deal, making it the biggest Commons defeat for a British government on record.

"The House has spoken and the government will listen," the prime minister said after the result was announced.

However, she added that "Tonight's vote tells us nothing about what the House will support. Nothing about how or even if it intends to honour the decision about the referendum parliament decided to hold."

Following the result Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn immediately called a vote of no confidence in the government.

Both the Labour party and the SNP withdrew their amendments to the deal in order to ensure a clear result. An amendment by Brexiteer MP John Baron, that would have given the UK a unilateral right to end the controversial Northern Ireland Brexit backstop was also defeated.

The prime minister is expected to address the Commons and outline her future plans imminently.

Those who voted against the deal included hardline Brexiteers and staunch Tory remainers, as well as former Cabinet ministers who resigned over Theresa May's plan. It also included the 10 DUPs who, despite their confidence and supply agreement with the government, opposed the deal, telling the prime minister to return to the negotiating table in Brussels.

The large majority of Labour MPs also voted against the deal, with opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn having called repeatedly for a general election.

The prime minister now has until Monday to return to the Commons and explain what she intends to do next to save her Brexit plan.

Opponents of her deal have urged her to return to Brussels and renegotiate her deal, although European negotiators remain publicly opposed to such a move.

Labour could table a no confidence motion in the government as early as this evening.

Why did MPs reject Theresa May's deal?

mps house of commonsUK Parliament / Jessica Taylor

May spent Tuesday trying to reassure MPs from all parties over the controversial Northern Irish "backstop" - a fallback plan designed to avoid any new border checks between Northern Ireland and Ireland - after receiving written assurances from EU leaders that the measure would only be temporary.

But opposition to the backstop was too great, especially among her own colleagues. Brexit-supporting Tory MPs said the backstop could keep the UK closely bound to EU rules and contain regulatory measures that would separate Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK.

Labour MPs generally supported Jeremy Corbyn's argument that May's deal was bad for the country. Many of them believe that voting against the prime minister's plans could lead to a general election and elevate Labour to government.

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