MPs have failed to back a single one of the eight ‘indicative votes’ put to the Commons, causing further uncertainty for the future of Brexit. MPs considered eight motions in total including leaving the EU without a deal, staying in a customs union with the EU and a confirmatory referendum. They selected their options on ballot papers on which they either chose a yes or no answer to the questions posed. Calls for a customs union with the EU were rejected by 272 to 264 votes.
A proposed second referendum was also defeated by 295 to 268 votes.
The votes’ architect, Tory Minister Oliver Letwin, said he believed none of the ideas would secure a majority but called for a further debate.
The results were not legally binding but had indicated the direction MPs might favour in the next step of the Brexit process.
Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay said the results showed there was “no simple way forward” for Brexit and said it strengthened Theresa May’s chance of securing her Brexit deal a third time round.
What happens NOW following a no clear majority?
MPs will have the option to debate the most popular votes in a further debate on Monday.
Although it is not certain, the Prime Minister is also likely to try to put her meaningful vote through Parliament a third time, after it was rejected on two previous occasions.
Mr Barclay said: “The results of the process this House has gone through today strengthens our view that the deal the Government has negotiated is the best option.
“If you believe in delivering on the referendum result by leaving the EU with a deal, then it’s necessary to back the Withdrawal Agreement – if we do not do that, then there are no guarantees about where this process will end.
“It’s for that reason that I call on all members from across this House in the national interest to back the Prime Minister’s deal.”
Earlier, Mrs May promised to stand down as Prime Minister before the next round of Brexit negotiations starts.
She pledged her resignation in return for Tory backbenchers backing her maligned Brexit plan.