‘Valentine’s Day massacre’ - PM defeated again over her Brexit plans
PUBLISHED: 18:02 14 February 2019 | UPDATED: 18:15 14 February 2019
Theresa May has suffered another humiliating Commons defeat after MPs again voted down her latest Brexit plans.
On another dramatic day at Westminster, MPs voted by 303 to 258 against the motion endorsing the government’s approach.
The defeat came after Tory Brexiteers in the European Research Group announced they had taken a “collective decision” to abstain.
Furious members said supporting the motion would have amounted to an endorsement of efforts to rule out a no-deal Brexit.
The wording of the motion called on MPs to reiterate their support for the approach set out in an earlier set of votes on January 29.
On that occasion, the Commons voted for a government-backed amendment calling on ministers to re-open negotiations with Brussels on the Northern Ireland backstop.
However it also voted for a non-binding cross-party amendment rejecting a no-deal break with the EU.
Following the vote, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said May - who was not present for the result - needed to accept her strategy had failed and come forward with a plan that could bring people together to prevent the “catastrophe” of a no-deal Brexit.
“The government cannot keep on ignoring Parliament and ploughing on towards March 29 without a coherent plan,” he said.
“She cannot keep on just running down the clock and hoping that something will turn up that will save her day and save her face.”
Best for Britain supporter David Lammy MP said: “This is a Valentine’s Day massacre for the government and a damning indictment of the prime minister’s Brexit plan.
“As well as enjoying another humiliating defeat, the government has been forced into publishing its no-deal advice. Now we wait to see what these papers contain. No doubt, having been kept in the dark until now, they give further weight to the mountain of evidence that leaving the EU without a deal will be an economic, security and political catastrophe.
“The prime minister has nowhere left to hide. Her threats to throw the country off a cliff edge if MPs do not vote for her deal will be exposed as deeply cynical by a leader more concerned with the future of her party than her country. She should now rule out no-deal and put her deal to a public vote with the option of remaining in the EU.”
Stephen Doughty MP from the People’s Vote said Brexit had become a “national humiliation”.
“Theresa May’s huge defeat in the House of Commons tonight confirms that Brexit has now descended into not only a political mess but a national humiliation. The prime minister is continuing to run the clock down at a time when MPs of all sides need to consider the national interest and the future of jobs and security.
“There is no Brexit deal that meets the promises made in 2016 or is as good as the one we’ve got. Theresa May’s repeated journeys back and forth to Brussels have and will achieve nothing except waste more time, and pour billions down the drain - because her proposals offer no clarity and no closure to this endless nightmare.
“Time is running out for parliament to hold a meaningful vote on her Brexit deal and if there is no majority for it in the House of Commons then the only responsible way forward is to give the final say back to the public with a People’s Vote.”