Ministers rejected all eight options during indicative votes in the House of Commons in a night of high drama in Westminster. Prior to the indicative votes, Britain’s exit from the European Union had been confirmed after MPs voted by a huge majority of 336 to delay Brexit. Ministers voted in favour of moving the EU exit day to May 22 if a Brexit deal can be approved by March 29, or to April 12 if a no deal is approved, by 441 votes to 105.
It came minutes after the DUP dealt a huge blow to Theresa May after it vowed not to support her Brexit deal as it “poses an unacceptable threat to the integrity of the UK”.
The party’s leader Arlene Foster told Sky News: “What we can’t agree to is something that threatens the union, that has a strategic risk to the union.
“For us in the Democratic Unionist Party, the union will always come first and that has been the issue right from the beginning of all of this.”
Jacob Rees-Mogg, chairman of the European Research Group (ERG), said he would also back the Prime Minister’s deal but only if the DUP abstains.
READ MORE: Would Theresa May win if a snap election was called tomorrow?
Theresa May smiles after MPs failed to back any alternative plan on Brexit
There is no way enough votes are coming out of that room to put the Withdrawal Agreement through
But DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds said the party propping up Mrs May’s Government will still vote against the deal and “we don’t abstain when it comes to the Union”.
Following Mrs May’s resignation announcement to the 1922 committee earlier, Mr Rees-Mogg said he “preferred leaving without a deal” but is backing the Prime Minister after that was ruled out.
Boris Johnson, who once likened Mrs May’s deal to a “suicide vest” wrapped around the British constitution, told the group in a meeting this evening he will also now throw his support behind it.
But despite Mrs May’s announcement and some leading ERG members changing their minds, hardliners in the group are refusing to be swayed to back her agreement.
At a meeting of the Brexiteer Conservative MPs, a spokesman said: “There is no way enough votes are coming out of that room to put the Withdrawal Agreement through.”
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10.50pm update: EU to hold crunch meeting after indicative votes
Ambassadors will hold an emergency meeting in the morning to discuss the fallout from tonight’s indicative votes.
An EU diplomat told Express.co.uk: “The meaningful vote won’t go anywhere. No deal really could happen.
“If so, I fear we can’t rebuild relations over all the acrimony but perhaps it’s time for this to end.”
10.30pm update: Farage warns politicians could face ‘massive backlash from voters’
In the wake of the indicative votes in the Commons, the former Ukip leader tweeted: “No majority for anything in Parliament, but there is a majority in the country to leave the EU.
“Our politicians must stop trying to undo our vote or face a massive backlash from voters.”
10.15pm update: Blackford calls for general election to end ‘impasse’
SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford tells the Commons: “This is a very serious moment for all of us and we have to reflect that this House of Commons has tried to find a way through the Brexit crisis over the last few months and we have failed.
“We need to reflect on the fact that when the Government talks about bringing their deal back, there are two occasions where the Government got 202 and 242 votes. That deal should be dead. And indeed the people’s vote got 268 votes tonight.
“I know we didn’t win but we got more votes for the people’s vote than the Government got for its proposition. I think it is becoming increasingly clear that this House can’t find a way forward. This Government, this Prime Minister, has failed to provide leadership.
“The only thing we should now be doing is going back to the people of the United Kingdom in a general election to end this impasse.”
10pm update: Letwin expresses ‘very great disappointment’ but urges MPs to back May’s deal
Sir Oliver Letwin, who’s motion on Monday evening saw MPs vote in favour of wrestling control from the Government over the Brexit process, told the Commons: “It is, of course, a very great disappointment that the House has not chosen to find a majority for any proposition.
“However those of us who put this proposal forward as a way of proceeding predicted that we would not this evening reach a majority, and indeed for that very reason put forward a business of the House motion designed to allow the House to reconsider these matters on Monday.”
To shouts of “no”, he added: “If on Monday the House is able to reach a majority view, I think that would be in the interests of our constituents, but I personally continue to harbour the hope that MPs will see fit to vote in favour of a Government motion between now and close of play on Friday.
“This would obviate the necessity for a further set of votes on Monday.”
John Bercow announced the results of the indicative votes to a packed House of Commons
9.45pm update: MPs should now back May’s deal ‘in the national interest’ – Barclay
Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay told the Commons: “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.”
9.40pm update: Brexit CHAOS as MPs fail to back any alternative plan
B: No deal on April 12 – 160 v 400;
D: Norway + model (remain in single market, customs arrangement, EFTA) – 188 v 283;
H: Norway model, without customs union (EFTA/EEA) – 65 v 377;
J: Leave EU with UK-wide customs union – 264 v 272;
K: Permanent customs union, including alignment with single market on future EU rights and regulations – 237 v 307;
L – Revoke Article 50 if no deal is no explicitly approved by MPs day before UJ due to leave EU – 184 v 293;
M – Any withdrawal agreement must be put to public in ‘confirmatory’ second referendum – 268 v 295;
O: If no agreement agreed, seek “standstill” agreement with EU while negotiating trade deal – 139 v 422.
Arlene Foster said the DUP will not support Theresa May’s Brexit deal
9.30pm update: Indicative votes results delayed
Commons Speaker John Bercow has suspended proceedings while everyone awaits the delayed results of today’s indicative votes on alternative Brexit options.
9.20pm update: Brexit date formally changed in UK law
MPs have voted in favour of moving the EU exit day to May 22 of a Brexit deal can be approved by March 29, or April 12 if a no deal is approved, by 441 votes to 105 – a majority of 336.
9pm update: Pound falls after DUP statement
Sterling has fallen to around $ 1.32 against the US dollar, having climbed to a little below $ 1.33 following Theresa May’s announcement she would resign when her Brexit deal is voted through Parliament.
The currency also slipped near to €1.17 against the euro having earlier been close to €1.18.
8.50pm update: DUP will NOT support May’s deal as it ‘poses unacceptable threat to the integrity of the UK’
The Northern Irish party propping up Theresa May’s Government has said it will not Brexit deal if it comes back to Parliament for a third meaningful vote in what is a huge blow to the Prime Minister.
Following Mrs May’s announcement she will resign as Prime Minister once her Brexit deal has passed, several MPs who had opposed her deal said they would now back it.
But DUP leader Arlene Foster told Sky News: “What we can’t agree to is something that threatens the union, that has a strategic risk to the union.
“For us in the Democratic Unionist Party, the union will always come first and that has been the issue right from the beginning of all of this.”
Jacob Rees-Mogg, chairman of the European Research Group (ERG), said he would also back the agreement if the DUP abstains.
But DUP deputy leader Nigel said the party will still vote against the deal and “we don’t abstain when it comes to the Union”.
8.10pm update: Government tables motion for Commons to sit on Friday
Amongst all the drama, the Government has tabled a sittings motion for tomorrow, that if passed, will see the House of Commons sit on Friday.
The move adds to speculation Theresa May’s Brexit deal will be brought back to Parliament for a third meaningful vote before the end of the week.
7.40pm update: Farage still blasts May’s deal as ‘bad treaty’
The former Ukip leader said despite the Prime Minister’s proposed decision to resign, her Brexit deal is still a “bad treaty”, comparing it to the Treaty of Versailles.
He tweeted: “Even if Mrs May goes, it is a bad treaty that will give us years of acrimony. A modern day versailles.”
7.30pm update: Indicative votes set ‘very bad constitutional precedent’ – Rees-Mogg
The chairman of the European Research Group said MPs should have instead opted for a vote of no confidence and let the public vote in a general election.
He told the BBC: “This is constitutionally absurd that people who have voted to take control of proceedings in the house basically don’t have any confidence in the Government but don’t have the courage to say so in a formal vote and they are doing it in an under-the-table fashion.”
“It makes a minority Government extraordinarily difficult and it doesn’t make the governance of this country any better.”
7.15pm update: Johnson tells ERG he will now BACK May’s deal
Boris Johnson has told the European Research Group (ERG) he will now back Theresa May’s Brexit deal, according to Sky News sources.
The former Foreign Secretary has previously rejected Mrs May’s divorce deal but as pressure mounts to save Brexit the group, led by Jacob Rees-Mogg, he will now support the Prime Minister’s withdrawal agreement.
It is understood Mrs May’s resignation announcement earlier this afternoon, prompted the Brexiteer’s changed stance.
Mr Johnson previously described the Prime Minister’s deal as “substantially worse” than EU membership.
Boris Johnson has now said he will back Theresa May’s Brexit deal
7pm update: Corbyn BLASTS May’s pledge to quit as PM
The Labour leader said Theresa May’s pledge to step down as Prime Minister once she has delivered Brexit shows her negotiations have not been about “principles or the public interest”.
He tweeted: “Theresa May’s pledge to Tory MPs to stand down if they vote for her deal shows once and for all that her chaotic Brexit negotiations have been about party management, not principles or the public interest.
“A change of government can’t be a Tory stitch-up, the people must decide.”
6.50pm update: May’s allies rally behind PM following decision to quit
George Freeman, Mrs May’s former policy advisor, said she was close to tears but had done the “right thing”.
He told the BBC: “It was a very sad moment. She has devoted her life to public service,” he told the BBC.
“She – with tears not far from her eyes – said: ‘Tonight this is a moment I promised I would deliver the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement.
“‘I have made many mistakes. I am only human. I beg you, colleagues, vote for the Withdrawal Agreement and I will go’. There was silence in the room and it was incredibly sad.”
Chancellor Philip Hammond tweeted: “@theresa-may has demonstrated once again that she puts getting an orderly Brexit done ahead of everything else.”
6.40pm update: Tory MP blasts ‘unforgivable’ way PM has been forced out
Andrew Percy, who backs Mrs May’s deal, told the BBC: “I am slightly irritated and probably even more irritated now that the price of supporting what I think is a good deal, bringing this to a conclusion, is all based around personality rather than based around principle, and I think that is unforgivable.
“The Prime Minister has done her duty. She has had all sorts of things thrown at her, a lot of it very unfair. I am sorry it has come down to personalities.”
Theresa May’s exit timetable after she said she will quit as PM when her Brexit deal goes through
6.30pm update: Rudd hopeful MPs will now be persuaded to back Brexit deal
Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd told Sky News she is “hopeful that the speech that she made will have helped persuade some colleagues” to back the deal”.
She added there was a “real feeling of support for the prime minister and urgency about wanting to get beyond this”.
Asked if MPs have changed their minds and will now back the deal, she said: “There will be some. I just hope that there will be enough because it’s time to move on.”
6.20pm update: Rees-Mogg tight-lipped on who he would support in leadership challenge
Asked who he would back, the Brexiteer said: “The great joy of the Tory party is it has so many talented people in it.
“It’s like finding a fast bowler in Yorkshire. You just call and one appears.
“Let’s leave this as the Prime Minister’s day and come on to who the runners and riders will be later.”
But Mr Rees-Mogg said Boris Johnson is a “formidably able man and I backed him in 2016”, although he wouldn’t say if he would back him again.
6.12pm update: Rees-Mogg will BACK May’s deal if DUP ABSTAINS
The leading Brexiteer had previously said he would vote for the deal if the Northern Irish party that props up the Government also joins him in backing Mrs May’s withdrawal agreement.
He told reporters: “If the DUP abstained I would feel entitled to back it.
“If the DUP was still against it I would not feel able to back it.”
6.10pm update: Scottish Secretary throws support behind May
David Mundell tweeted: “PM is driven by a sense of duty and public service. Her decision today reflects again her putting the national interest ahead of personal interest.
“She remains determined to secure our departure from the EU on an orderly basis and will have my full support in doing so.”
Theresa May will quit as Prime Minister once her Brexit deal has been delivered
6.05pm update: UK ‘cutting off nose to spite its face’ in leaving EU, says Beckett
Dame Margaret Beckett warned the UK will become “rule takers” and could lose “our voice, our vote, and our veto”.
The Labour former foreign secretary believes the public should have a say on whether they still want to leave the EU if it means the country would end up in a worse position than before.
She said accepting Theresa May’s deal would be “sacrificing sovereignty”.
Dame Margaret told MPs in the House of Commons: “Today’s proposals mean we stand to lose our voice, our vote, and our veto. Successive British governments have used voice, vote, and occasionally veto, to considerable effect.
“We already have special deals all over the place. We don’t have to be in the Euro, we don’t have to be members of the borderless Schengen area, and we have helped to shape agreements within the EU and as an EU member across the world.”
She added: “The Prime Minister’s deal, like the various alternatives, to my mind one and all, surrender that sovereignty. They do make us rule takers without being, as we have been, influential rule makers.
“Sovereignty is not returning. In fact, we are sacrificing sovereignty for the sake of saying we are no longer members of the EU.”
5.55pm update: MPs ready to BACK Brexit deal after May’s announcement
Tory MP George Freeman has told Sky News he has never seen such a meeting “so silenced”.
He added there were a series of speeches from people who have been holding out, voting against, announced that they will vote for the deal”.
5.50pm update: May leaving job ‘to do what is right for our country and our party’
Downing Street has released words showing what the Prime Minister announced to MPs.
She said: “I know there is a desire for a new approach – and new leadership – in the second phase of the Brexit negotiations – and I won’t stand in the way of that.
“I know some people are worried that if you vote for the Withdrawal Agreement, I will take that as a mandate to rush on into phase two without the debate we need to have. I won’t – I hear what you are saying…
“I am prepared to leave this job earlier than I intended in order to do what is right for our country and our party.
“I ask everyone in this room to back the deal so we can complete our historic duty – to deliver on the decision of the British people and leave the European Union with a smooth and orderly exit.”
Anna Soubry hit out at ‘shameful’ Brexiteers
5.40pm update: Anna Soubry blasts ‘SHAMEFUL’ Brexiteers for now backing deal
In a tweet following Theresa May telling the 1922 committee she will resign as Prime Minister once her Brexit deal is delivered, the Tory MP hit out at Brexiteers.
She said: “So hard Brexiteers will vote for the PM’s “deal” not because it’s good for our country and the right thing to do – not even because it delivers Brexit but because it gets rid of the PM #Shameful.”
5.30pm update: May will RESIGN as PM once Brexit deal goes through
In a crunch meeting with the 1922 committee, the Tory leader has said she will stand down once she has managed to deliver on the result of the 2016 referendum.
Sky News sources said the Prime Minister told MPs: “I am prepared to leave this job earlier than I intended in order to secure a smooth and orderly Brexit.”
Tory MP James Cartlidge said: “My recollection is that she said she would not remain in post for the next phase of the negotiations, the implication being that once the Withdrawal Agreement has passed, she would make way for someone else.”
5.10pm update: Brexiteer Marcus Fysh talks up his motion being voted on by Parliament
The Tory MP said his option, part of the indicative voting tonight, would provide a back-up if the UK crashed out of the EU without a deal but “doesn’t prejudice what the future relationship is with the EU” and “honours the referendum and the manifesto”.
The Brexiteer’s motion – option O – states if no withdrawal agreement is struck, to seek a “standstill” agreement with the EU while negotiating a trade deal.
SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford (Ross, Skye and Lochaber) said his party would be voting for revoking Article 50 or a People’s Vote because “there is no such thing as a good Brexit and it must be stopped”.
5pm update: PM in crunch meeting with 1922 committee
Theresa May is addressing the 1922 committee – the group of all Tory MPs.
They and Cabinet Ministers filed into the Commons committee room 14 ahead of the Prime Minister’s arrival.
Sky News digital political reporter Greg Heffer has tweeted there is some banging of desks as she enters.
4.50pm update: DUP preparing to make MAJOR STATEMENT
The DUP will make a last-minute statement just one hour after Prime Minister Theresa May addresses warring MPs over Britain’s Brexit crisis.
The Northern Ireland party, which props up Mrs May’s Conservative Government, just announced they will make a statement to the UK immediately after the embattled Prime Minister addresses MPs at 5pm.
BBC political producer Liz Rawlings confirmed the shock news in a tweet that read simply: “Expecting a DUP statement at 6pm”.
It is not yet known what the DUP will say in their statement, though it comes at a time when Mrs May is battling to both gather support for her controversial Brexit deal while at the same time struggling to keep her job amidst a Cabinet coup to oust her.
4.35pm update: Government hints third meaningful vote could still take place on Friday
Brexit Secretary has suggested the Government may bring back Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement before the Commons this week.
He said: “In order to maximise our ability to secure that approval the Government will, later today, table a motion for the House to sit this Friday.
“This will be taken as the last order of business tomorrow and (Commons Leader Andrea Leadsom) will confirm business for Friday in her business statement tomorrow morning.
“While I appreciate it may cause some inconvenience, I hope all members would agree that it’s better to have it and to not need it, than to need it and not have it.”
The Brexit Secretary added if the deal does come back, he will “note” Mr Bercow’s comments about it needing to be substantially different from when it was last voted on earlier this month.
Stephen Barclay hinted a third meaningful vote could still take place on Friday
4.25pm update: Government furious at Bercow’s rejection of third meaningful vote
The Commons Speaker has infuriated the Government after saying he will not accept a third meaningful vote being brought forward this week without substantial changes.
A Government source to the Press Association Mr Bercow was “making it up as he goes along.”
Downing Street was caught off guard by the Speaker’s comments and his decision that a “notwithstanding motion” – which would allow MPs to vote on disregarding conventions – would not be accepted.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “I, for one, was not aware of that in advance, so there isn’t anything I can add at the moment.”
4.20pm update: Nick Boles talks up benefits of Amendment D
The Tory MP, who tabled the chosen motion for voting tonight, said: “Not as something cowardly but as something courageous. In a divided country and a divided parliament, finding and sustaining a compromise that most people can support is a noble endeavour.
“After years of paralysing conflict we have moral duty to open our minds this afternoon and reach for a compromise that will allow us to put the interminable Brexit row behind us.”
He added: “The great strength of the Common market 2.0 proposal relative to all other Brexit compromises is that it offers something important and valuable to everyone and every party in this House.”
4.15pm update: Amendment D respects referendum without ‘wrecking the economy’ – Stephen Kinnock
The Labour MP said: “This really is five minutes to midnight for this parliament, for this Government and for this country.
“We desperately need to find a way out of this mess. Our country has spent two years tied up in knots by the Prime Minister’s incompatible red lines which offered such a narrow interpretation of the referendum result.
“A 52-48 vote was certainly not an instruction for a disastrous no-deal, or a hard Canada-style job-destroying Brexit. It was an instruction to move house but to stay in the same neighbourhood.”
4pm update: May set for showdown with influential 1922 Committee
The Prime Minister will meet lawmakers from her Coinservative Party at 5pm, where she could outline a timetable for her departure.
Ahead of this crunch showdown, MPs are debating what sort of EU divorce the UK should proceed with.
John Bercow said Theresa May’s deal could not be brought back unless substantial changes are made
3.50pm update: How does the voting process work?
MPs will be asked to consider the eight alternative Brexit options after Parliament seized control of the Commons agenda to force a series of indicative votes.
The House will be suspended for voting to take place from 7-7.30pm and MPs will be able to vote for and against as many options as they like.
They can vote “Yes” or “No” – or abstain – to each of the options put before them on a paper ballot, rather than the traditional Commons voting system.
But MPs will not be able to vote yes and no to the same motion.
Ministers with surnames beginning with A to K will hand in their own completed form in the “Aye” lobby” and those with names beginning L to Z will hand in to the “No” lobby.
The results of the votes are expected shortly after 9pm.
3.45pm update: Meaningful vote on Friday?
Despite earlier comments from Mr Bercow, the third meaningful vote could in fact take place this week after all.
Sky News Deputy Political Editor Beth Rigby has tweeted: “Just been told that Tory MPs have been told to clear their diaries to be available on Friday.”
3.35pm update: Bercow effectively rules out May’s deal coming back for third meaningful vote this week
The Commons speaker addresses his previous ruling, which rules Theresa May bringing back her Brexit deal to Parliament for a third meaningful vote without substantial change.
He says: “I understand the Government may be thinking about bringing a third meaningful vote before the House either tomorrow or even on Friday, if the House opts to sit that day.
“Therefore, in order there should be no misunderstanding, I wish to make clear that I do expect the Government to meet the test of change.
“They should not seek to circumvent my ruling by means of tabling either a notwithstanding or a paving motion – the tabling office has been instructed no such motion would be accepted.”
3.30pm update: Eight options chosen for ballot paper for indicative votes
Commons Speaker John Bercow has selected the following motions:
(B) Leave the EU without a deal on April 12 – moved by Tory MP John Baron;
(D) The UK would join the EFTA, remain in the EEA and single market and enter a customs arrangement until a solution to the Irish border is found – moved by Tory MP Nick Boles;
(H) Norway model, without a customs union (EEA and EFTA) – moved by Tory MP George Eustace;
(J) Leave the EU with a UK-wide customs union – moved by Tory MP Ken Clarke;
(K) Permanent customs union, including alignment wit the single market on future EU rights and regulations – moved by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn;
(L) Revoke Article 50 if a no deal Brexit is explicitly approved by MPs a day before Britain is due to leave the EU – moved by SNP MP Joanna Cherry;
(M) Any withdrawal agreement must be put to the public in a “confirmatory’ second referendum – moved by abour MP Dame Margaret Beckett;
(O) If no withdrawal agreement is agreed, to seek a “standstill” agreement with the EU while negotiating a trade deal – moved by Tory MP Marcus Fysh
Brexit news: Andrea Leadsom said the government would oppose the business motion
3.13pm: Indicative voting to take place tonight
MPs have voted 331 to 287 – a mjority of 44 – to hold the indicative votes process in the Commons this evening.
This would also make time for a further debate on Monday.
3.07pm update: Letwin warns May to pursue option with majority
Tory lawmaker Sir Oliver Letwin has urged the Government to pursue any alternative Brexit path that gains a majority in Parliament and if it does not, the Commons will seek it to do so.
He added if the Government ignores the result of the indicative votes in Parliament tonight, MPs will look to pass legislation to compel it to negotiate with the EU.
Mr Letwin told Parliament: “The government, like all the rest of us is governed by the law.
“I’ve never met an honorable member of this House (of Commons) or any other living human being who is more law abiding than the prime minister, so I am absolutely certain that she will follow the law, not just in the letter but in the spirit, where there is a law which flowed from a majority view of the House of Commons.”
Brexit news: Jacob Rees-Mogg could back Theresa May’s deal in a major U-turn
Paul Withers taking over live reporting from Rebecca Perring.
2.42pm update: Corbyn makes preparations for Number 10
Jeremy Corbyn is going on regular runs to keep him in shape for becoming prime minister.
Labour sources confirmed the party leader goes on “multiple” runs of 5km to 7km each week, as well as cycling, going to the gym and working on his allotment.
They said Mr Corbyn had always made a point of keeping fit and had taken steps to ensure his exercise regime has been maintained since becoming Labour leader in 2015.
A Labour spokeswoman said: “He cycles, he runs, he goes to the gym.
“He does multiple regular weekly runs which would range between five and seven kilometres.”
Asked if Mr Corbyn was exercising more in preparation for the rigours of an imminent general election campaign, a party source said: “He has always been very active but since he has been doing this job, he’s made sure to (keep that up).”
He joked: “The preparations for Government are extensive and comprehensive.”
2.38pm update: Governmet to oppose MPs taking over Brexit
Andrea Leadsom, who is in charge of the British government’s business in parliament, described it as a worrying precedent.
She told parliament: “Today’s motion is an extremely concerning precedent for our democracy.
“It is for parliament to scrutinise, to amend, to reject and to approve, what today does is effectively turn that precedent on its head. Those who are not in government are deciding the business.”
2.26pm update: ERG suggests it WON’T back May’s Brexit deal
Mark Francois, deputy chairman of the Tory European Research group, has said he expects the DUP will vote against Theresa May’s deal, in which case Jacob Rees-Mogg and most of the ERG would follow suit.
He told BBC Radio 4’s the World at One: “My understanding is the DUP have made very clear they are not going to vote for the Prime Minister’s deal.
“Jacob Rees-Mogg, my boss as chairman of the ERG, has always said consistently he will not vote contrary to the DUP.
“So, if the DUP hold good to their word, and they’re honourable people in my experience, they will vote against the deal. Therefore, so will Jacob and, I believe, so will the bulk of the ERG.
“The Government want to bring MV3 (meaningful vote three) back tomorrow. They are desperately trying to peel people away in order to facilitate it. At the moment, it’s not working.”
Brexit news: MPs will be offered a free vote in tonight’ indicative votes
2.18pm update: Whitehall has failed – Sir Oliver Letwin
He told the Commons “one very, very senior official described the situation as one in which it was necessary for Whitehall to save Parliament from itself” and although it was “very difficult for the official mind to absorb” the fact that “ultimately that is not how the constitution works”.
He added: “This is a very important point we’re making here about how our country is ultimately governed.
“In an emergency the House of Commons is capable of controlling its own business in such a way as to find a solution the vast majesties of Whitehall and Government have not been able to provide us with.
“It’s because Whitehall has failed, not due to the inadequacy of any individual but due to the basic difficulty of the situation, that the Commons is taking these steps.”
2.06pm update: Archbishop of Canterbury says ‘we MUST respect Brexit vote’
The Most Reverend Justin Welby tweeted: “It’s easy to tell MPs how badly they are doing, easy to abuse and threaten. But they have to decide for us and deserve respect. Let us pray for them (or intend well, if not pray), for a decision that has widespread support and for a process that brings national agreement.
“Reconciliation is less about agreeing than about finding out how to disagree well. We must respect the vote of the people and unite our country £hopefilledfuture.”
12.38pm update: May faces pressure to resign
Speaking during PMqs, SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford said: “It is becoming increasingly clear that the cost the Prime Minister will pay to force her disastrous deal through is the price of her departure.
“Yet again another Tory Prime Minister is willing to ride off into the sunset and saddle us with a crisis in the UK and an extreme right-wing Brexiteer coming into Downing Street. Does the Prime Minister feel no sense of responsibility for what she is about to do?”
Mrs May said: “It is my sense of responsibility and duty that has meant I have kept working to ensure Brexit is delivered.”
Mr Blackford added: “She can still change course, it is not too late. On Saturday I joined opposition leaders and a million people to demand a second EU referendum.
“Six million people have signed a petition online demanding the Prime Minister rethink her strategy, and today this House will give her a way out, a chance to prevent disaster.
“Will the Prime Minister finally respect the will of Parliament or will she continue to allow Scotland and the rest of the united Kingdom to be held hostage by the extreme right wing of the Tory party and the DUP?”
12.35pm update: Barry Gardiner mocked after Labour support for second vote
After Labour announced it would be supporting the Margaret Beckett amendment, Owen Smith tweeted: “Excellent news. Hope someone lets @BarryGardiner know.”
12.21pm update: Labour will support second referendum
Labour MPs are to be whipped to support a motion tabled in the name of Dame Margaret Beckett, demanding a second referendum on any Brexit deal passed by this Parliament before its ratification.
A party spokesman said: “In line with our policy, we’re supporting motions to keep options on the table to prevent a bad Tory deal or no deal.”
Brexit news: Theresa May has given Tory MPs permission to back a soft Brexit
12.16pm update: Voters will NEVER trust May again
Brexiteer Tory MP Andrew Bridgen (North West Leicestershire) said his constituents would never trust the Tory leader again if the UK failed to leave the EU on Friday March 29, with or without a deal.
He said: “At the last minute she begs our EU masters for an extension to Article 50, delaying our departure.
“They are good people, but they are not stupid and they will never trust the Prime Minister again.”
Mrs May said MPs could still guarantee delivering on Brexit “if this week he and others in this House support the deal”.
11.42am update: Vote Leave says Leave would WIN again
The chief of the 2016 “Vote Leave” Brexit campaign said “beating” Remainers would now be “easier”.
In the June 23, 2016 referendum, 17.4 million voters, or 51.9 percent, backed leaving the EU while 16.1 million, or 48.1 percent, backed staying.
Ever since, critics have pushed for another referendum.
But Dominic Cummings, who ran the Vote Leave campaign, said:”Start rebuilding our network now. Beating them again and by more will be easier than 2016.”
Brexit news: Labour will support an amendment for a second vote
11.31am update: Brexiteer in extraordinary rant against ERG
Dominic Cummings, who ran the Vote Leave campaign, launched an attack against Brexiteers in Theresa May’s Conservative Party as “delusional” and accused them of being “useful idiots” for the Remain campaign.
He wrote on his blog: ” Those of you in the narcissist-delusional subset of the ERG who have spent the last three years scrambling for the 810 Today slot while spouting gibberish about trade and the law across SW1 — i.e exactly the contemptible behaviour that led to your enforced marginalisation during the referendum and your attempt to destroy Vote Leave — you are also in the pirate category.
“You were useful idiots for Remain during the campaign and with every piece of bull**** from Bill Cash et al you have helped only Remain for three years.
“Remember how you WELCOMED the backstop as a ‘triumph’ in December 2017 when it was obvious to everybody who knew what was going on — NOT the Cabinet obviously — that this effectively ended the ‘negotiations’?”
11.17am update: Speculation May is preparing for third vote
BBC’s political editor Laura Kuenssberg tweeted: “Chatter about govt laying paving motion tonight to prepare ground for possible third vote on PM’s deal on Friday – in other words, MPs would vote to have the vote to get round Speaker’s possible ruling.”
Brexit news: Theresa May is under pressure to resign
10.58am update: Dominic Grieve hits out over Brexiteer U-turns
Tory former attorney general Dominic Grieve hit out at Conservatives who have suggested they could back Mrs May’s Brexit deal and then “pick it apart” afterwards.
He said such a move would split the party, saying: “Do they really, seriously think that my party, who’s already under a lot of strain and stress, is going to survive such a process?
“Of course it isn’t.
“If genuinely they think that the solution is to sign-up, leave and then try to take the whole thing to pieces, I think we can guarantee, firstly, we are going to have a very long period of immense and sterile debate.
“And certainly I think when it comes to that I can confidently predict my party would split.”
10.47am update: May could bring her deal back
Leader of the House Andrea Leadsom said there was a “real possibility” there would be sufficient support for the Government to stage a third “meaningful vote”, either on Thursday or Friday.
She said ministers were continuing to talk to MPs – including those in the DUP, who prop up the Government at Westminster and whose votes may be crucial in determining the outcome.
Mrs Leadsom told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I think that there is a real possibility that it does (come back).
“We are completely determined to make sure that we can get enough support to bring it back.”
Brexit news: A timeline on how tonight’s votes will work
10.41am udate: SNP urges EU ‘leave light on for Scotland’
SNP MEP Alyn Smith insisted that Scotland was a “European nation” – and added that independence would offer the country a “route back”.
In a plea to other European politicians he said: “Cher colleagues, I’m not asking you to solve our domestic discussions. I am asking you to leave a light on so we can find our way home.”
Almost two thirds of Scots voted to remain in the European Union in the 2016 referendum, with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and others complaining that the Brexit vote means the country now faces having to leave the trading bloc against the wishes of its people.
10.03am update: Barnier says UK can STAY in EU
The EU boss said “anything is possible” before telling Mr Farage: “No one in Brussels is trying to steal Brexit from you. No one is trying to undo the vote put to the British people.
“It is not Brussels that decided that the UK would leave the EU. You are the ones who have to take your responsibility and face up to the consequences of that decision. No one else.”
He said no one, not even Nigel Farage, would be able to demonstrate the “added value of Brexit” adding: “It’s a negative neogtiaiton, it’s a lose lose situation and as such we must find a solution to limit the damage caused.”
He also warned “Brexit deal or no deal, the Good Friday Agreement will continue to apply and UK will be expected to uphold its commitment”.
Mr Barnier said: “It is up to Britain to decide, one way or another we are not bargaining, this is an exit process and Britain will bear the consequences of that.
“But of course it can stay, anything is possible up until April 12.”
Brexit news: Barnier said the UK can remain in the EU
9.51am update: Farage speaks of ‘greatest betrayal in our history’
The Brexiteer told the European Parliament: “We are witnessing a slow-motion betrayal. Perhaps the greatest betrayal of any democratic vote in the history of our nation. And the reason, of course, is this withdrawal treaty.
“I’ll go back to the First World War. We won the war but we have the Treaty of Versailles. And this treaty is the modern day equivalent.
“We have a reparations bill of £39billion we have to pay for nothing in return.
“We have the annexation of a part of our national territory in the shape of Northern Ireland. This treaty is a bad piece. It is unacceptable.
“It is not Brexit and it will not pass.”
9.18am update: Labour reveals it WON’T back petition to revoke Article 50
Shadow international trade secretary Barry Gardiner has suggested his party will never revoke Article 50 as it is not a “Remain party” and has “accepted” the result of the 2016 EU Referendum.
He said calling off Brexit or even backing a second referendum without producing alternatives to Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement would turn Labour into a “Remain party”
8.58am update: Verhofstadt attacks Brexiteers
The European Parliament Brexit co-ordinator attacked claims that the EU had tried to humiliate and punish the UK.
He told the European Parliament: “You know what the problem is? The problem of the humiliation and punishment is because of the mess in the Tory Party – there is the humiliation of the British people.”
Brexit news: Guy Verhofstadt furiously mocked Nigel Farage
8.47am: Rees-Mogg has been speaking outside Westminster
He added: “We are in a terrible constitutional muddle, we have a broken-down relationship between the executive and legislative.
“In those circumstances, the deal that Mrs May has got, with its many faults, is at least leaving the EU.
“I haven’t changed my mind on the deal. The only way left of doing it (leaving the EU) is this deeply unsatisfying deal.”
He said the British public have been let down by MPs, describing the alternative Brexit votes scheduled for Wednesday as MPs trying to thwart Brexit.
Mr Rees-Mogg added: “We ought to be leaving on Friday at 11 o’clock with or without a deal but that’s not the situation we find ourselves in.
“They (MPs) didn’t like the result, they thought the British people have got it wrong, that’s what today is all about.”
Brexit news: Donald Tusk was heckled by Eurosceptics
8.45am update: Guy Verhofstadt mocks Nigel Farage
The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator tells the former Ukip leader he is surprised to see him in the EU Parliament in Strabourg because he should be out marching on his Brexit march.
He compares Farage to Field Marshal Haig in Blackadder.
Mr Verhofstdat says: “You remind me more and more of Field Marshal Haig in Blackadder – he was so sitting in the First World War in his office in London.
“And you’re sitting here in Strasbourg while your own people are marching through the rain and cold – that is the way you’re taking your responsibility.”
The EU chief then went on to quote Winston Churchill, who once famously said that “success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no less of enthusiasm”.
He added: “I think this quote was absolutely applicable today to British politics, the Commons and Prime Minister Theresa May.”
Brexit news: Britain was due to leave the EU on March 29
8.31am update: Tusk is heckled by anti-EU MEPs
Mr Tusk is mocked by Brexit-backing MEPs when he says Remainers in Britain “may feel that they are not sufficiently represented by their UK Parliament, but they must feel they’re represented by you in this chamber because they’re Europeans”.
Tusk called April 12 the “new cliff-edge date” and that Britain still had a choice between a deal, no deal, a long extension or the revoking of Article 50, Britain’s notification that it plans to leave the European Union.
He told the parliament: “You cannot betray the six million people who signed the petition to revoke Article 50, the one million people who marched for a People’s Vote, or the increasing majority of people who want to remain in the European Union.”
In a tweet released just after his short speech, he said the parliament should be open to a long extension if Britain wished to rethink its strategy.
8.28am update: Tusk attacks MEPS
Donald Tusk attacks MEPs complaining about prospect of UK taking part in EU elections.
He said: “Such thinking is unacceptable. You can’t betray 6million people who signed petition to revoke Article 50, the 1million people who marched for a People’s Vote or increasing majority who want to remain in EU.”
8.22am update: Juncker says Brexit is unclear
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker told MEPs that it was unclear how Brexit would unfold.
In his opening remarks, he said: “I told some of you that if you compare Great Britain to a sphinx then the sphinx would seem to me an open book. We will see in the course of this week how this book will speak.”
Brexit news: May could bring her deal back to the House for a third vote
8.02am update: Government’s statement in full over Brexit petition
Tthe Department for Exiting the EU said it “remains the Government’s firm policy not to revoke Article 50” after more than 5.75million people signed the petition calling for Article 50 to be revoked”.
The statement said: “We will honour the outcome of the 2016 referendum and work to deliver an exit which benefits everyone, whether they voted to Leave or to Remain.
“Revoking Article 50, and thereby remaining in the European Union, would undermine both our democracy and the trust that millions of voters have placed in Government.
“The Government acknowledges the considerable number of people who have signed this petition. However, close to three-quarters of the electorate took part in the 2016 referendum, trusting that the result would be respected.
“This Government wrote to every household prior to the referendum, promising that the outcome of the referendum would be implemented.
“17.4 million people then voted to leave the European Union, providing the biggest democratic mandate for any course of action ever directed at UK Government.
“British people cast their votes once again in the 2017 General Election, where over 80% of those who voted, voted for parties – including the opposition – who committed in their manifestos to upholding the result of the referendum.
“This Government stands by this commitment.
“Revoking Article 50 would break the promises made by Government to the British people, disrespect the clear instruction from a democratic vote, and in turn, reduce confidence in our democracy.
“As the Prime Minister has said, failing to deliver Brexit would cause ‘potentially irreparable damage to public trust’, and it is imperative that people can trust their Government to respect their votes and deliver the best outcome for them.”
The petition will be debated by MPs on April 1, after smashing the 100,000 threshold for consideration and becoming the best-supported proposal in the history of the House of Commons and Government’s e-petitions website.