Brexit: After last night’s vote May clambers to fix deal ahead of Tuesday

Theresa May has arranged talks with the DUP to get them to back her deal following MPs overwhelming vote last night to extend Article 50.

Brexit is to be extended by at least three months to June 30, with 236 Labour MPs voting for an extension as well as 112 Conservatives.

Now May must make some adjustments to her deal before bringing it back to parliament on Tuesday for its third vote, with her spokeswoman stating she has been ‘working tirelessly’ to secure a deal.

However, if the deal is rejected for the third time, the prime minister will have to seek a longer extension that will be subject to unanimous agreement by the other 27 EU member states.

MPs in favour of Brexit have essentially been given a choice between accepting her deal before March 29 or risk exiting after June 30 that would make the possibility of no Brexit more likely.

The Commons also voted on the possibility to hold another referendum which received a staggering defeat, with only 85 MPs voting for one offering remain as an option.

Labour resorted to whipping its MPs to abstain from the vote but despite this, 41 of its MPs rebelled, 24 voted for a referendum and 17 voted to oppose it.

And as a response, five Labour MPs announced resignation including MP for Stoke-on-Trent North, Ruth Smeeth and shadow business minister Justin Madders, to oppose a referendum.

Jeremy Corbyn thanked them for their service on the Labour frontbench, stating he understood the difficulties of MPs.

“All of us across the House now have the opportunity to work together to find a solution to the crisis the Government has plunged us into.

He added: “I look forward to continuing to work with them to secure a Labour government, end austerity and give real hope to the whole country.”

Nevertheless, as Wednesday and last night’s votes were not legally binding on the government, it means the UK is still due to leave the EU on March 29, either with or without a deal.

David Lidington, the prime minister’s unofficial deputy and minister for the cabinet office, suggested although MPs had a majority to stop a no deal, it could still happen unless another deal is sought and secured.

“I think there is some real impatience among the British public, and frankly among other EU government, with this inability to agree in Westminster on the way forward,” he told BBC Radio 4 Today.

“The alternative, spelt out very clearly and accepted by the House of Commons, is that you don’t have a short technical extension to our membership. You almost certainly need a significantly longer one”, he added.

 

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