Jeremy Corbyn tabled a motion of no confidence in the government after Theresa May’s deal was defeated by a huge 230 vote majority tonight.
Labour’s confidence motion will be debated and voted on tomorrow, but the government will likely survive as Tory and DUP MPs have pledged to support it despite having decisively voted down its Brexit deal.
248 Labour MPs, 118 Tories and all the DUP representatives voted against May’s deal. Only three Labour MPs voted for May’s deal – Ian Austin, Kevin Barron, John Mann – plus Frank Field, who now sits as an Independent.
Both Jim Fitzpatrick, who said he was minded to vote for May’s deal last week, and Caroline Flint, who hadn’t confirmed either way, helped to defeat the deal. Lisa Nandy, Gareth Snell, Kate Hoey and other possible Labour rebels had already promised to follow the Labour whip tonight.
Speaking in the Commons after the vote, Jeremy Corbyn described the defeat as “catastrophic”. He said: “After two years of failed negotiations, the House of Commons has delivered its verdict on her Brexit deal and that verdict is absolutely decisive.”
The Labour leader added: “In the last two years, she has only had one priority: the Conservative Party. Her governing principle of delay and denial has reached the end of the line. She cannot seriously believe that after two years of failure, she is capable of negotiating a good deal for the people of this country.”
Although Corbyn has already called on the Prime Minister to renegotiate her deal and expressed his preference for one that includes customs union membership, May’s spokesperson did not indicate that such compromises would be made.
Downing Street said the Prime Minister would consult “senior parliamentarians”, not the opposition leader, on a deal based on the same principles of taking control of “money, borders, laws” with “an independent trade policy”.
Following the likely outcome of the confidence vote tomorrow, Corbyn will face pressure from Labour MPs and activists to back a fresh EU referendum. However, his spokesperson made clear that there are “other options on the table”.
Asked what were the other options, the spokesperson replied: “The first is the alternative plan that we have laid out and that we believe can command a majority across the commons, even without a general election.”
He added: “All options on the table means there is no hierarchy of options but this is our policy.” On the possibility of tabling multiple motions of no confidence in the government, the spokesperson said: “Motions of no confidence can happen more than once.”