Theresa May fended off a backbencher revolt over Brexit on Wednesday evening, securing a majority against a parliamentary motion that would allow the parliament to determine what happens if there is “no deal” with Brussels.
The 319 to 303 vote means the UK can leave the EU without a deal. The government hailed its parliamentary victory as an important step to the UK regaining control “of its money, laws, and borders.”
The leader of the backbenchers, Dominic Grieve, backed down and the House of Lords accepted defeat. The government will now present its plans for a future relationship with the EU, including the thorny issue of access to the Single Market.
The vote suggests Tory backbenchers had the numbers but not really the courage to bring down the government, although they secured a small procedural concession, which they hailed as a major victory. Six Tory MPs – Ken Clarke, Anna Soubry, Sarah Wollaston, Heidi Allen, Antoinette Sandbach and Phillip Lee – rebelled, while the government also had the backing of four Labour opposition MPs.