Theresa May says her latest Commons defeat makes no-deal Brexit 'more likely'

Posted On: 
15th February 2019

A no-deal Brexit has been made more likely by the Government's latest defeat on Brexit, Theresa May has warned.

A grim-faced Theresa May leaves the House of Commons after Thursday's vote.
Credit: 
PA Images

The Prime Minister pointed the finger at Jeremy Corbyn despite the fact that a major Tory rebellion led to the 303 to 258 vote loss in the Commons.

Members of the hardline European Research Group of Conservative MPs abstained abstained on a government motion endorsing “the approach to leaving the EU” backed by the Commons on 29 January.

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They claimed that appeared to endorse MPs' vote that night to rule out a no-deal Brexit.

Thursday night's vote was the 11th time the Prime Minister has been defeated by the Commons over her approach to Brexit, and threw her attempts to re-negotiate a deal with Brussels into chaos.

In a statement afterwards, a spokesman for Number 10 chose to blame Labour for the latest defeat, and insisted it would not alter the Government's attempts to seek changes to the Irish backstop.

He said: "Jeremy Corbyn yet again put partisan considerations ahead of the national interest – and yet again, by voting against the Government’s motion, he is in effect voting to make no deal more likely.

"While we didn’t secure the support of the Commons this evening, the Prime Minister continues to believe, and the debate itself indicated, that far from objecting to securing changes to the backstop that will allow us to leave with a deal, there was a concern from some Conservative colleagues about taking no deal off the table at this stage.

"The motion on 29 January remains the only one the House of Commons has passed expressing what it does want – and that is legally binding changes to address concerns about the backstop. The Government will continue to pursue this with the EU to ensure we leave on time on 29 March."

But Mr Corbyn said the vote had shown there was "no majority for the Prime Minister's course of action".

He told MPs: "This can’t go on. The Government can’t keep ignoring Parliament or ploughing on towards the 29 March without a coherent plan.

"The Prime Minister needs to admit that her strategy has failed, shift her red lines and come back with a proposal that can truly command majority support in Parliament."