The continuing saga of Brexit as Parliament inflicted a humiliating but symbolic defeat of the Prime Ministers motion which ‘reiterated’ Parliaments support for Theresa Mays negotiating strategy. Legally, the vote means nothing as it is non-binding but symbolically it is humiliating for May.
Anna Soubry MP withdrew her amendment which instructed the government to publish within seven days “the most recent official briefing document relating to business and trade on the implications of a no-deal Brexit presented to cabinet” after the government agreed to publish the documents.
Brexiteers however were annoyed by the wording of the motion which they felt moved explicitly against a no deal Brexit as it contained the amendment won last week which was tabled by Caroline Spelmen MP which explicitly ruled out no deal. Divisions emerged within the European Research Group with Jacob Rees-Mogg describing the motion as “not fundamentally important”:
NEW: @Jacob_Rees_Mogg in full to me just now…
“Today’s business is not fundamentally important. It’s all about where the govt is going. So this is a secondary issue rather than a primary one and that’s why I think it’s highly unlikely people will be voting against this motion”
— Paul Brand (@PaulBrandITV) February 14, 2019
However, the ERG abstention left May high and dry – the motion was defeated by 303 to 258.
Jeremy Corbyn rose immediately after the vote and said it was “surprising that the Prime Minister is not even here” and asked the Speaker to compel the Prime Minister to attend the House to present a “coherent plan” to avoid the “catastrophe” of No Deal Brexit.
Once again it would appear that Theresa May is on the ropes…..