Theresa May Suffered Another Humiliating Brexit Defeat Today
Theresa May suffered another humiliating Brexit defeat today as MPs voted to accelerate the process of deciding the next steps if her deal is torpedoed.
The Commons passed an amendment by 308 votes to 297 that will force the PM to come up with a Plan B within days if her package fails to get through in a showdown next week.
It paves the way for MPs to give the government detailed instructions on what they want to happen next – although it is still not clear there is any course that commands a majority.
|The Commons passed an amendment that will force the PM (pictured in the chamber today) to come up with a Plan B within days if her package fails to get through|
The latest setback came after a bitter row with Speaker John Bercow – which culminated in extraordinary scenes in the chamber where Tory MPs and ministers accused him of flouting procedure.
The government had thought the amendment would be ruled out of order, but Mr Bercow defied advice from clerks to trigger a vote.
It also comes a day after MPs began a ‘guerilla war’ to try and stop a no deal exit from the EU.
Twenty Remainer Tories joined with Labour and voted to to restrict the Treasury’s ability to control taxes if the government pushes ahead with no deal.
Tory rebels led by Dominic Grieve made their next move today as they attempted to re-write the rules of debate on the Prime Minister’s Brexit deal.
They want to force Mrs May to return to the Commons with a plan B within three days of her deal being defeated on Tuesday night, as appears inevitable.
The government were confident today’s rebellion would be scotched as the ‘business motion’ could only be amended by a minister.
But it was unexpectedly allowed on the order paper by clerks. There are claims Mr Bercow then selected it despite concerns from advisers.
A Downing Street spokesman said: ‘We are surprised the Grieve amendment was selected. The advice we received was it would not be in order.
‘We are able to access advice from other sources (than our whips).’
Mr Bercow faced the wrath of ministers and Tory MPs today after he allowed the ‘out of order’ amendment.
Commons sources told MailOnline Mr Bercow was given ‘strong advice’ by clerks against permitting a vote on a change to the government’s Brexit motion.
But he defied the views of officials to accept the amendment, which would effectively force the PM to come back to Parliament with a Plan B within three days of her deal being defeated.
The government had been convinced the business motion, due to be voted on this afternoon, was unamendable by rank-and-file MPs.
Chief Whip Julian Smith was spotted having a ‘stand up row’ with Mr Bercow in the chamber before PMQs this afternoon, during which he apparently insisted he would not be ‘bullied’.
Even senior Labour figures had privately thought the amendment could not be selected.
In an hour of brutal exchanges after PMQs, Mr Bercow was accused of going way beyond his powers and ‘overruling’ a motion of the House. Senior backbencher Crispin Blunt warned that it looked like ‘the referee of our affairs… is no longer neutral’.
Commons Leader Andrea Leadsom urged him to publish the advice he received from the Clerk of the House David Natzler.