Brexiteers have seized on the defeat of an SNP amendment to claim that MPs were now in favour of a no-deal option for Brexit.
That is despite the government having to promise to offer votes on a no-deal Brexit and an extension to Article 50 next month to avoid a Tory rebellion in the House of Commons.
SNP MP David Linden stood up in the House of Commons to ask Chris Heaton-Harris about taking the option of the UK crashing out of the EU off the table.
He said: ‘Surely the best way of taking no-deal off the table is for the Government to just say they’re taking no-deal off the table.
‘So, why then last night when the SNP put an amendment to parliament did they whip their MPs, including Scottish Tory MPs, to walk through the lobby and not take no-deal off the table?’
Heaton-Harris, however, claimed that the vote showed there was now support for a no-deal Brexit – the opposite of what the amendment intended to show.
He replied: ‘Interestingly this now means, if you were to take the result of this literally, there is a majority of 36 in this House for keeping no-deal on the table.’
The government will offer a vote on no-deal Brexit when the next Meaningful Vote is held, with Brexiteers hoping a no-deal Brexit will not be taken off the table.
Sir Desmond Swayne said: ‘In the event of the Withdrawal Agreement being defeated a second time the government must be committed to voting in favour of a no-deal Brexit, otherwise it will have in effect taken no-deal off the table, won’t it?’
Brexit minister responded: ‘The key issue here is we need to give businesses certainty and we need to secure the deal.
‘Unlike him, I am more optimistic there’s an opportunity for the House to come together on the areas that we do agree, because this is about the winding-down arrangements.’