MPs have approved a plan that will make it more difficult for Boris Johnson to suspend parliament should he want to push through no deal Brexit without their permission. The amendment put forward by Labour’s Hilary Benn and Tory backbencher Alistair Burt was passed by a majority of 41, with 315 votes in favour and 274 against.
The Northern Ireland Bill as amended now requires the government to publish progress reports on the situation in Northern Ireland, hold Commons debates on them and – if parliament has been suspended – recall the Commons for five days. This period of time may allow parliamentarians to stop no deal or vote against the government in a confidence motion.
17 Tory MPs voted in favour of the Benn/Burt amendment: Guto Bebb, Steve Brine, Alistair Burt, Jonathan Djanogly, Justine Greening, Dominic Grieve, Sam Gyimah, Richard Harrington, Margot James, Philip Lee, Jeremy Lefroy, Sir Oliver Letwin, Paul Masterton, Sarah Newton, Antoinette Sandbach, Keith Simpson, Ed Vaizey.
Culture, media and sport minister Margot James resigned from her post after defying the whip.
30 more Conservative MPs had no vote recorded. Some of those were active abstentions without permission to miss the vote, including cabinet members Philip Hammond, David Gauke, Greg Clark and Rory Stewart.
Kate Hoey was the only Labour MP to vote against the Benn/Burt amendment today. Ian Austin, now an Independent, also voted against. Nine Labour MPs had no vote recorded, but some will have abstained unintentionally.