Theresa May has passed her latest government motion on Brexit with the help of Labour MPs, who voted overwhelmingly to authorise her request for Article 50 extension to 30th June.
The hope among Labour MPs is that asking the EU for a Brexit delay – as the Prime Minister has been compelled to do by the Cooper bill – will avoid ‘no deal’ on the current exit date of Friday 12th April.
A huge majority of 420 MPs voted in favour of the motion, while 110 voted against – including 97 Conservatives. Those opposed were mostly hard Brexiteers such as Steve Baker, who favour no deal.
Among those Tories who abstained were cabinet ministers Geoffrey Cox, Liam Fox, Chris Grayling and Andrea Leadsom. They also included soft Brexiteer Paul Masterton, who believes that the Cooper bill increases the risk of an accidental no deal.
Just three Labour MPs voted against the motion – Ronnie Campbell, Stephen Hepburn and Kate Hoey – as well as now-Independent MP Frank Field.
On Wednesday, Theresa May will attend a summit where EU leaders will consider extension proposals. European Council president Donald Tusk has advocated a ‘flexible’ extension of up to a year.
Talks between both main parties continued today and will resume after the summit. Commenting on the meetings, a Labour Party spokesperson said: “We had further detailed and wide-ranging talks with cabinet ministers and officials today.
“We have yet to see the clear shift in the government’s position that is needed to secure a compromise agreement. We have agreed to hold further talks on Thursday in an effort to break the Brexit deadlock, and find a compromise that can win support in parliament and bring the country together.”