Theresa May's Brexit deal suffers historic Commons defeat, again 3 years ago

Theresa May's Brexit deal suffers historic Commons defeat, again

When will it end

Theresa May's Brexit deal suffered a second humiliating defeat in the House of Commons tonight.


MPs voted 242 in favour, 391 against. A majority of 149.

The result is the fourth largest Commons defeat in the democratic era. Above it is the last meaningful vote, in the top spot, and two defeats suffered by Ramsay McDonald in 1924.

May said: "I profoundly regret the decision this house has taken tonight. I continue to believe that the best outcome is the UK leaves the EU with a negotiated deal. The deal we've negotiated is the best and only one available."


"This is an issue of grave importance for the future of our country."

"I am passionate about delivering the result of the referendum, I believe the best and most orderly way to do that is with with a deal."

The prime minister also confirmed the House of Commons would now vote on whether it supported no deal and then, if it doesn't, there will be a vote on extending the date of the UK's departure from the EU.

She said Conservatives would be granted a free vote on the issue.


Both the Democratic Unionist Party and the European Research Group, the hard right Eurosceptic wing of the Conservative party, said they would not support May's withdrawal agreement earlier today.

Late last night, the prime minister rushed across the English Channel to Strasbourg to meet with the president of the European Union's commission, Jean-Claude Juncker. In a press conference at close to midnight local time, May announced "legally binding" changes to the Irish backstop had been agreed by both parties.

The backstop is the key area of disagreement for both ardent Leavers and northern Irish unionists, albeit for different reasons.

Tory Brexiteers are concerned that the backstop could leave the UK permanently in the EU's customs and regulatory orbit, while DUPers fear a barrier or difference in status could exist between the North and the rest of the UK.


Unfortunately the government's attorney general, Geoffrey Cox, and apparently every single lawyer in the country, decided that the "legally binding" changes make no significant difference to previous interpretations. No alternative arrangements, unilateral exit facility or time limit.

That explains tonight's result.

The last meaningful vote on May's deal, on January 15 this year, saw the largest defeat in Commons history. It was voted down by 432 votes to 202.

What next? In brief: another meaningful vote, a prime ministerial resignation, a general election and IndyRef2. Or none of the above.
Strong and stable at Westminster today.