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Brexit news - live: Tory MP quits in disgust after Commons votes to reject every single suggested way forward

Follow our live coverage of the day’s political events

Benjamin Kentish
Political Correspondent
,Samuel Osborne,Adam Forrest,Chris Baynes,Tom Barnes
Monday 01 April 2019 16:40 BST
Brexit: What happens next?

MPs have rejected all alternative Brexit options put forward in indicative votes as one Tory MP quit seconds after results were announced claiming the party “refuses to compromise”.

The Commons turned down options to pursue a Common Market solution, a second referendum and the revocation of Article 50. A Customs Union proposed by Ken Clarke was rejected by just three votes.

Moments after the vote took place, Tory MP Nick Boles resigned the party whip claiming his colleagues “refuse to compromise”. His Common Market 2.0 proposal had been defeated 261 votes to 282, with 228 Conservatives voting against.

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Public splits between rival cabinet ministers had deepened earlier in the day ahead of the key votes.

Tory chief whip Julian Smith said the government should have accepted earlier that it would “inevitably” need to settle on a softer Brexit, but Liz Truss, the chief secretary to the Treasury, said such an outcome would be “incredibly problematic”.

Mr Smith also hit out at his cabinet colleagues, saying they were the “worst example of ill-discipline in cabinet in British political history”.


Welcome to The Independent's live coverage of today's political events.

MPs are set to take back control of the Brexit agenda in a new attempt to find an alternative to Theresa May's deal in a series of "indicative votes".

They are also due to debate a Revoke Article 50 petition, which became the best-supported proposal in the history of the House of Commons and Government's e-petitions website.

Samuel Osborne1 April 2019 07:40

Ms May spent the weekend fending off Conservative divisions over Brexit, amid speculation she could call a snap general election if her fourth attempt to pass her deal fails.

Samuel Osborne1 April 2019 07:47

Over six million people have signed a petition calling on the government to halt the Brexit process. 

The Revoke Article 50 petition, to be debated by MPs today, is the best-supported proposal in the history of the House of Commons and Government's e-petitions website.

Rejecting the often-repeated claim EU withdrawal is the "will of the people", it calls for the revocation of the Article 50 letter informing the European Council of the UK's intention to leave.

The letter can be withdrawn by the UK unilaterally, without the need for EU agreement, leaving Britain free to continue as a member on its current terms.

The petition quickly passed the 100,000-signature threshold needed for it to be debated in parliament, with the official committee revealing nearly 2,000 signatures were being completed every minute at one point.

A 2016 petition calling for a second EU referendum should the winning vote and turnout not reach a certain threshold had been the most signed petition, at almost 4.2 million.

The Revoke Article 50 petition also passed another proposal which sought to prevent Donald Trump from making a state visit to the UK, which had 1.9 million sign-ups.

Samuel Osborne1 April 2019 08:04

Theresa May's chief whip has said her government should have claimed a softer Brexit was inevitable after it lost its majority in a 2017 election, the BBC has reported.

Julian Smith was also strongly critical of a lack of discipline among senior ministers, the broadcaster said.

Mr Smith said when it failed to get a majority in the 2017 election, "the government as a whole probably should have just been clearer on the consequences of that. The parliamentary arithmetic would mean that this would be inevitably a kind of softer type of Brexit."

He said he had seen ministers "sitting around the cabinet table... trying to destabilise her [May]."

Samuel Osborne1 April 2019 08:15

The Democratic Unionist Party has insisted it will continue to vote against Ms May's Brexit deal.

The party's Brexit spokesman Sammy Wilson told the BBC: "The implications for Northern Ireland are far, far too serious.

"First of all, it would take us away from the country that we fought to stay part of.

"And secondly, it would break us away from the economy on which we are dependent.

"Because, of course, the GB economy is the most important economy given where we export our goods and bring our goods from."

Samuel Osborne1 April 2019 08:20

Business minister Margot James has agreed with Tory chief whip Julian Smith's assessment that the government should have accepted that losing its majority at the 2017 election "inevitably" meant there would need to be a "softer type of Brexit"...

Benjamin Kentish1 April 2019 08:32

Tory grandee Ken Clarke will table a motion proposing that the UK join a customs union with the EU after Brexit when MPs take part in the second round of "indicative votes" tonight.

The same motion was defeated by just six votes during the first round of indicative votes last week, fuelling speculation that it is likely to win a majority tonight.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4's Today, Clarke admits that there is now "a huge risk" of the Conservative Party splitting but says MPs need to embrace compromise and "isolate" those who hold "totally fanatical views" on Brexit.

Benjamin Kentish1 April 2019 08:38

The EU is running out of patience with Britain over Brexit, the president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, has warned.

Samuel Osborne1 April 2019 09:03

Liz Truss, the chief secretary to the Treasury, has disagreed with Tory chief whip Julian Smith's claim that the government should have pivoted to a softer Brexit when it lost its majority at the 2017 general election.

She told BBC Radio 4's Today:

"If you look at the parliamentary arithmetic now, it's not clear that something like a customs union actually commands support - in fact, the prime minister's deal got more votes than a customs union got, it got more votes than Common Market 2.0 got.

"So it's not clear to me that going softer is the way to command support. There have already been indicative votes and the customs union has failed to pass muster on several occasions already."

The UK joining a customs union would be "incredibly problematic", she added, saying she would "very strongly argue against that".

Benjamin Kentish1 April 2019 09:10
Benjamin Kentish1 April 2019 09:17

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