MPs back amendment to restrict government powers over no deal Brexit

PUBLISHED: 19:23 08 January 2019 | UPDATED: 19:35 08 January 2019

Theresa May in the House of Commons. Photograph: UK Parliament/Mark Duffy/PA Wire

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Theresa May in the House of Commons. Photograph: UK Parliament/Mark Duffy/PA Wire .

There was cross-party support in the House of Commons tonight as MPs voted for an amendment from Labour's Yvetter Cooper to try to prevent a no deal Brexit.

Her proposal aims to restrict the government’s freedom to use the Finance Bill to make tax changes linked to a no deal Brexit without the “explicit consent” of Parliament.

It was supported by 303 votes to 296, a majority of 7.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, as the next vote began, turned and applauded Cooper and gave her a thumbs up.

In a statement outside the Commons, he said the vote in support of the amendment was “an important step to prevent a no-deal Brexit”.

He said: “It shows that there is no majority in Parliament, the cabinet or the country for crashing out of the EU without an agreement. That is why we are taking every opportunity possible in Parliament to prevent no deal.

“Theresa May must now rule out no deal once and for all.”

Ian Murray, the Labour MP for Edinburgh South and a leading supporter of the People’s Vote campaign, said: “The threat of a no deal Brexit has cynically used by the government for many months as part of their campaign to bully and intimidate Parliament into voting for a bad deal that would leave us worse off and offers less control.

“Parliament has now asserted its authority and sovereignty and effectively exposed the threat of no deal as an empty one.

“The real choice facing Parliament and the country is now clear. We can leave the EU under the terms of some version of the prime minister’s bad deal or we can keep all our rights, powers, influence and op-outs in our current deal as full members of the EU.

However a former cabinet minister has said the prime minister is still not prepared to rule out crashing out of the EU without a deal, despite around 220 MPs signing a letter urging her to rule it out.

After a meeting between the prime minister and MPs who signed the letter, Dame Caroline Spelman said May showed that she “understands the damage that would be caused if the UK did leave the EU without a deal”.

Dame Caroline, who organised the letter with Labour MP Jack Dromey, told the Press Association: “She showed that she understands the damage that would be caused if the UK did leave the EU without a deal - she’s not prepared to rule that out at this stage because of course in her view we can avoid all that if we support her agreement.”

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